Northern Rivers Beach House

DesignerErhard Rathmayr
PrizeHonorable Mention
Project LinkView
Entry Description

This project was the first house of a subdivision within a dual occupancy development. Located in a beachside setting, the architectural intent for this project was to design a contemporary house that features subtropical living in a temperate climate. The initial premise for the design of the house was to ‘re-interpret’ the beach house by integrating traditional beach shack materials, including corrugated metal, fibre cement sheeting and timber elements, onto a contemporary and dynamic shape. The restraints of a quite small site area, low budget and restrictions due to flooding, resulted in exploring the unusual concept of a cantilevered structure, with both ends overhanging and counterbalancing each other. Using steel for the major structural elements, and timber for the secondary structure, a very economical and bridge-like architecture was created to inspire an interesting and soaring visual effect. All living spaces rest approximately two meters above the ground on a suspended, battened and ingrained floor that provides cover for car parking, storage and laundry areas. The abstraction of the timber-battened vernacular of subtropical architecture creates movement and scale to the house. Like most beach houses, the bedrooms are modest in size to draw focus on the open-plan living area that connects through a large sliding door with a generous north facing deck. From here, a large glazed area opens towards the east. All openings are shade protected with wide overhangs, while allowing maximum light to enter the living space. A harmonious and minimalist palette of finishes and colours create a very calming and welcoming atmosphere for much desired relaxed and comfortable beachside living. This house incorporates sustainable design principles, and has been planned to take advantage of natural ventilation, passive solar design and a very economical use of space. Building materials, with sustainable credentials, were used like plantation timber, bamboo for flooring, and plywood for ceilings.