LocationSunshine Coast, Australia
Text description provided by the architects. An all-encompassing and protective roof is both an enduring theme and a practical component of Queensland architecture. This idea is particularly apt at the Sunshine Beach; where a site located on the dunes overlooking the rolling surf is both an inspiration and a challenge. White sand and bright sunlight are an integrally beautiful part of this site but need to be considered from both a practical and sensory viewpoint.
The beach house is designed as a series of volumes located in the landscape, protected by a simple, generous roof which extends over much of the site. This roof creates a double-story enclosure within which distinct elements (such as curvilinear staircases and a rumpus room) are located.
Voids between these elements create both internal and external spaces that can be occupied in a variety of ways. The double-height living room is an extension of the outdoors: filled with light and overlooking the beach. This room links the various living areas together, providing a focal point for residents as well as a place to socialize. The upper-level bedrooms are designed to contrast this focal point. Darker-toned and private, these spaces provide a retreat from the brightness of the house and site. They are a place to rest the eyes as well as the body.
This upper level features a dark color tone externally as well, which is intended to make the house recede into the natural vegetation, respecting the views of both the neighbors and of passers-by on the beach. As a dominant characteristic of the design, the roof addresses the particular environmental considerations of this site.
Commonly exposed to scorching summers and significant rainfall, the house has primary views and glazing to the east. Those windows (as well as the occupants) are sheltered from the glaring morning sun via the protective roof. Additionally, breezeblocks act as a filter throughout the house, softening the light to the internal spaces and providing a relaxing, sheltered atmosphere within while still maintaining views to the surf.
Consequently, the house catches cooling breezes but has protected outdoor areas to retreat to at night or in blustery weather. A covered courtyard between the living and rumpus rooms serves this purpose, while an upper-level outdoor living area provides additional protected space and an opportunity for seclusion from the main living areas. The informal character of the landscape in the locality is enhanced by local species of pandanus, banksia and dunal plants. These gardens will eventually grow around the home, stretching from the dune through the house to the road’s edge; deliberately blurring the line between architecture and landscape.