The clients and architect's challenge was to design a practical, liveable and aesthetically pleasing contemporary dwelling that settles lightly, quietly and more naturally in its location. They set out to "repair the design wound" the existing brick bungalow inflicted on the coastal ridge, balanced against the economic need to retain as much of the existing structure as possible.
The small second storey was added to capture ocean and bushland views and extend living areas with the intention to integrate the dwelling into one structure that restores the essence of the Australian coastal environment from which it has been divorced.
This project includes an upper level addition to a 1980's clinker brick project home overlooking Copacabana Beach on the Central Coast. The project embraces its suburban context and provides a model for contemporary and sustainable reuse for these outdated buildings.
The new upper level embraces the suburban character of the existing structure and includes new living spaces, bedroom and deck taking advantage of the southerly views from the elevated site which is nestled high in the saddle between the Copacabana and Bouddi National Park headlands. This upper level offers an independent living area for the owners while the lower level can accommodate extended family during the peak holiday periods.
The elongated form of the new upper level mirrors the form and sense of enclosure of the surrounding headlands, providing light and privacy from the street to the north and a platform from which to enjoy the view to the south. Low walls and solid balustrades capture the ocean view in a protective yet dramatic way and screen out neighbouring buildings. Coloured fins within the ceiling plane are lit by skylights which provide soft lighting to the central stair and to the projecting deck to the east and makes reference to classic beach holiday house style.
A stair is inserted into the ground floor and this provides a central core for the upper level rooms to be planned in a pinwheel arrangement. Lines of axis within the plan have been distorted to maximise the perception of space and yield to the view. The upper level balances the sense of openness to the balcony and the view to the south and the sense of light and privacy from the north.
A sweeping pergola, which will eventually be covered with vines, provides a green horizontal border between the existing house and the new upper level. This replaces an existing garage structure and links the car port to the entry patio via new landscaped steps constructed in salvaged railway sleepers and bricks. A dense pattern of timber battens provide an asymmetrical bay to streetscape as a contemporary response in kin to the suburban context.
Straight forward construction techniques, economical, environmentally sustainable and low maintenance building materials have been used for the new work. The upper level is clad in clear finished fibre cement sheeting with vertical western red cedar cover battens which have been left unfinished and will weather to grey forming a uniform patterning to the facade.
The project acknowledges the embodied energy within the existing structure and retains as much of this fabric as possible in order to minimise materials required. Passive environmental design principles of orientation, daylight and cross ventilation underpin the design. Skylights incorporated within the roof allow natural daylight into the centre of the plan. The site has been revegetated with native, low water use planting. Active systems have also incorporated into the works including a 2 kW photovoltaic system and a 6100 litre rain water tank supplying toilets, washing machine and taps.
RAIA (NSW) Residential Architecture Award, Single Houses 2012
Houses Award, Alteration over 200sqm, Finalist 2012
RAIA National Awards Shortlisted 2012
UPPER LEVEL CLADDING
JAMES HARDIE WALL & FLOOR PRODUCTS, CLEAR FINISHED FIBRE CEMENT SHEETING
LOWER & UPPER CLADDING COVER
BATTENS WALKER BROTHERS TIMBER, WESTERN RED CEDAR COVER BATTENS
SALVAGED RAILWAY SLEEPERS, REUSED BRICKS FROM DEMOLISHED PORTION OF GARAGE
VARYING WIDTH BLACKBUTT DECKING BOARDS
CORIAN BENCHTOPS, LAMINATE DRAWER FRONTS
LAMINEX, AIRLE BLUE INSERT
BRITTON TIMBERS, CHARACTER GRADE WORMY CHESTNUT, BLACKWOOD
MR PLY & WOOD, 9MM V GROOVE BOARDING
BROADWAY WINDOWS AND DOORS
DECK & STAIR
MAKROLON, TWIN-WALL WITH PAINTED PLYWOOD FINS BENEATH
BLUESCOPE LYSAGHT, KLIPLOK 700
EARP BROS INNOVATIVE TILE SOLUTIONS
WOODFIRE NECTRE, MKII SLOW COMBUSTION HEATER
DINING TABLES & CHAIRS
BONDI MARKETS VINTAGE TULIP STYLE
KNOLL, HARDOY BUTTERFLY
LE CORBUSIER SOFA IC2 SECOND-HAND
SMALL COFFEE TABLE
ARMADILLO & CO, NATURAL HEMP
EAMES RAR, LIVING EDGE ROCKING CHAIR
LOCALLY SALVAGED VINTAGE LIGHTS