LocationBroken Head, Australia
Architect in ChargeChris Knapp
BuilderDave Foley / Foley Constructions
EngineerPhil Wallace Consulting Engineers
The Dragonfly is designed to deliver a maximum of experience within limited build- able constraints around an existing house and sloping site. The project mediates between expansive views of the Pacific Ocean at Lennox Head, NSW and intimate snapshots of the rugged hillside upon which the Dragonfly is situated. This compact extension to an existing holiday house creates an additional private sleeping and living space, most often utilised when the main house is crowded with family and guests throughout the year. The space functions as a retreat for the owners, their teenage children, guests, or as an artist studio. A sauna, outdoor shower, and garden patio are also part of the scope of works.
The palette of materials includes copper, glass, hoop pine, and Australian cypress is employed to create a sympathetic dialogue with the surrounding environment, further enhanced by a strong indoor/outdoor relationship and passive energy performance.
A strategy of inflected geometry in the roof/ceiling plane and floor plan configuration is employed to highlight focused views to the surrounding environment, capitalise upon aspect, and shelter the project from southerly exposure.
The Dragonfly is organised to strengthen the relationship between the occupant and the outdoor environment, thusly emphasizing the primacy of site and place. The project encourages an active awareness and participation in one's achievement of thermal comfort. Additionally, the extension is tailored to fit seamlessly into the context of the existing house to which it is attached, such that occupants of other areas of the house do not take notice nor are they impacted by the extension’s presence.
The project is tucked to the rear of the existing house and is modestly seen from the approach. The Dragonfly is anchored to the hillside along one edge, and then cantilevered out using suspended concrete slab construction to eliminate any need to load upon the existing structure. Placement of windows, doors, and ventilation panels are sited to augment diurnal and seasonal patterns of sun, wind, and wet weather.
The project delivers the clients' request for a bedroom, ensuite, sun-deck, sauna, storage, and a desk for writing through a very compact layout of integrated furnishings. The constraints of the project were turned into opportunities to enhance one's sense of discovery in the everyday. A storage wall which holds books, clothes, and other artefacts also creates separation for the ensuite . The ensuite receives ample daylight via a ribbon of clear glass that occupies the space between the continuous plywood ceiling and the top of the 2.1m high storage wall.