Bundeena Beach House exterior facade

Bundeena Beach House is a sustainable coastal home that purposely rejects its built context, instead choosing to forge a connection between the street and the natural environment beyond.

Situated on a rocky headland at the end of a beach, adjoining the public access-way, this project required a unique, sustainable response with a high level of sensitivity to the site.

Design response

Set low into the slope of the site, the house presents its roof as its primary elevation to the street. Conceived as a native garden, the roof acts as an expansion of the adjacent public reserve.

Bundeena Beach House interior

A sculptural skylight emerging from the roof garden acts as a beacon to the house underneath, glowing at night and creating an ever-changing artwork of light and patterns inside the house during the day.

Bundeena Beach House interior light

Operable shading elements have been minimised; perforated corten screens are fitted to the sleeping box windows and there is a fixed pergola to the glass box living space. This is a measure to minimise maintenance in the corrosive coastal environment.

Set in, and under, a native garden, and running alongside a public reserve, the house abandons the notion of the fence, dissolving the boundaries between the public and private realms. It does not attempt to relate to its built context. It stands in contrast to the wall of garages, providing a moment of relief in the street. With its low-set form, public facing garden roof, and open site boundaries, it connects the street with the environment, beach and water beyond.

Bundeena Beach House outdoor landscape

The home’s primary view is to the west, with little northern exposure. The large skylight and void address this orientation, allowing day-long solar penetration. The butterfly shape acts to restrict penetration to strategically oriented, vertical triangular panes, preventing overheating, while encouraging a playful interaction with the sun's movement.

Sustainability features

The green roof has many benefits. First of all, it reduces heat absorption and increases insulation. Collected rainwater is also recycled for irrigation, while a 16-panel 5.7kW photovoltaic system and Tesla battery provide all the owner’s electricity.

Combining PVs with highly efficient heat pump technology, the house is gas-free, with PVs providing all electricity, hot water, heating, cooling and cooking needs. According to the architects, through the use of sound passive design, low maintenance materials, and PVs integrated into the landscaped roof, the design hopes to provide an example of understated environmental performance.