By Sarah Manners

North Coast

By: Bourne and Blue Architecture Pty Ltd

Living room- photo by Simon Whitebread

How does the project respond to its context, contribute to the public domain for example street or neighbourhood?

The original buildings in this coastal village are  simple in form and detailing and modest in size. They are simple mono pitched roof, fibro or weatherboard, with outdoor showers and bathrooms and are simple in detail.

Often when properties change hands on the coast, original buildings are often replaced by large suburban houses. Here this approach has been resisted. The house is compact and by being seperated into different pavillions  the house  works with the natural slope as opposed to against it- and brings down the illusion of bulk when viewed from the beach/ street.

What problems did you have to solve?

The site is naturally quite steep- so to ensure the house worked with the slope it was designed in paviliions which stepped down the slope with courtyards between.  The site is also loose sand- so considerable engineering was required.

As the site is a beach front property, the materials selected needed to take into account the extreme conditions. Plastic external light fittings were utlised instead of metal ones- reducing the parts which can be effected by corrosion. A fibrecement and timber cover batten cladding was selected to fit in with the surrounding beach shacks- but also as it is durable and cost effective.

What was the contribution of others, including engineers, landscape architects, artists, builders and other specialists to the outcome?

Local experience from a builder and piling contractor were essential in assisting with the structural and architectural design of the house, ensuring what was documented would be the best practice for the site.  

How would you describe the value of design in relation to the cost of the project?

Consultation with the builder (and local piling contractor) during the designing process and complete documentation of both Architectural and Structural work was essential in ensuring accurate pricing could be completed prior to construction starting- ensuring the project would met the clients budget. 

What are some important sustainability aspects of the project?

As the site is unsewered- an onsite wet composting system was included as part of the design. A 5 KW solar panel system and rain water tanks were also integrated.

Scale also plays a part in the sutainability of the project- large homes cost more to cool / heat/ light- whereas a more modest design like this project can incorporate an appropriate amount of operable (and fixed) glazing as well as suitable eaves allowing for solar control on the glazing which can negate needs for extensive heating, cooling and lighting systems

What do you consider to be the benefits of the project for the client, users and the community?

The benefits for the client include a home which meets their brief- a simple, compact holiday house which can be comfortable for either a couple or a large family.  The house is low maintanance and due to water tanks, solar panels and wet composting system- the house is affordable to run.

The benefits for the community is a residence which becomes part of the landscape of small fibro cottages- rather then something which contrasts and dominates visually.