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Bremer Bay House

March 19, 2009

The philosophy for this coastal holiday retreat for the architect’s family is based on two questions: ‘’How does this particular landscape inform the design?’’ and ‘’How does this house in this location influence its use?’’ The result is a solid structure that rejects the idea of ‘touching the ground lightly’. As the primary climatic characteristic […]

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The philosophy for this coastal holiday retreat for the architect’s family is based on two questions: ‘’How does this particular landscape inform the design?’’ and ‘’How does this house in this location influence its use?’’ The result is a solid structure that rejects the idea of ‘touching the ground lightly’. As the primary climatic characteristic is the wind of considerable force from most directions in any season, the brief demanded a cocoon-like structure that had ample views, but did not feel like a fortress.

The house consists of four boxes, attached to intersecting rammed-earth walls and clad with weather resistant steel sheeting. The house has been gently nestled into the existing contours and offers a dynamic interior flow where the concrete floor of the sleeping zone is also the kitchen bench, allowing one to walk on the counter and promoting a sense of playfulness and delight. In addition two outdoor areas function as sheltered gardens and are usable in different seasons according to the wind patterns.

The other main issue that has informed both form and materials is the occurrence of bushfires, raising a question such as ‘‘What would remain of the house should a bushfire claim it?’’ Both rammed-earth and weather resistant steel cladding walls would remain intact; the steel cladding acts as a continuous welded screen that actually hangs from the roof steel structure and is detailed in a way that is reminiscent of an elegant quilt with all its connotation of comfort and luxury, though rust itself is an ever-changing material.

In its architectural expression this house intends to be a space for contemplation where the immediate and distant outdoor cannot ever be ignored. The external materials intend to be unobtrusive both in texture and colour. The interior, on the other hand, intends to expose both the structural heaviness of the main intersecting walls and the playfulness of the actual and visual geometry of the spatial set-up.

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