Engineer: Bligh Tanner
Photographs: Christopher Frederick Jones
Drone Photographs: Elliot Alexander, Drone Boy
Text description provided by the architects. A spectacular coastal site called for a complementary beach house to integrate with the landscape and take advantage of ocean, light, and views: striking the perfect balance between prospect and refuge. Located on Central Queensland's 'Discovery Coast', Springs Beach House harnesses the incredible views of the Coral Sea and across the cresting waves towards the headland at Seventeen Seventy, the site where Captain James Cook first landed in Queensland in 1770. The site is a bushy escarpment, falling dramatically towards the beach and view to the north.
The single-story beach house nestles carefully into the site, paying reverence to the stunning natural landscape, rather than dominating. A sunken grassed courtyard, screened by low walls sits to the left of the entry, creating a private outdoor living space in the shade and refuge of the coastal bushland. Like an ancient ruin, textural cast concrete lends the courtyard a timeless quality and anchors the house to the landscape, while a central fire pit will no-doubt become the gathering place of choice for long evenings of campfire storytelling and relaxation.
From here, you are drawn to the light and views, stepping into the living pavilion floating above the landscape and leaning toward the prospect; ocean and sky. The solidity of concrete gives way to the lightness of Australian hardwood timber, signaling the shift. The roof rises up to absorb the view and huge bays of sliding glass doors disappear into concealed pockets, helping the home dissolve into the landscape beyond. In these important living spaces, clerestory windows help the house to naturally draw cooling breezes from the cooler courtyard.
Living spaces and the master bedroom suite are housed in this main pavilion. Beyond the open-plan living, dining, kitchen, and semi-enclosed lounge are a library/study and access to the master bedroom suite with ensuite bathroom and private deck. A second, two-story bedroom pavilion contains additional bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. The courtyard, living spaces, and sleeping pavilion are all connected by decks and a covered arcade, drawing you outside as you move from space to space and encouraging you to engage with the natural world that surrounds you.
Similarly, the living spaces spill onto a large, sheltered deck and an outdoor room which bring you as close as possible to the sights and sounds of this stunning site, perched among the treetops. With operable shutters, the outdoor room can be as open or enclosed as desired.
The pavilions are arranged on the site relative to their need for views and light. The living spaces stand proud of the escarpment; the sleeping pavilion - seeking more shelter and privacy - recedes back into the sloping land, shielded by shading screens. The pinnacle of the house, both literally and figuratively, is the crows nest. Perched above the outdoor room, the crows nest captures the best views of the treetops, ocean and distant headland.
Inspired by the natural beauty of the site, the chosen materials and finishes are designed to get better with age. In keeping with the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, natural textures and authenticity of raw materials are celebrated and allowed to weather and change over time, settling into their place.
Springs Beach House is a home that makes the most out of this unique site and landscape; you are always treated to an outlook of beach, trees or sky. It's a house perfectly suited for luxury sub-tropical living, where doors are never closed and shoes are never needed. It's a place to relax, retreat and revel in the raw beauty of nature surrounded by friends, family and the resident Pretty-faced Wallabies.