Friday, August 6, 2010

...The Beach House...

Architects: BARK Design Architects
Location: Queensland, Australia
Photographs: Christopher Frederick Jones

I'm a bit of a patriot. Don't get me wrong, I have a severe need to travel the world, see beautiful places, and I plan on living in some country or another for some amount of time. But Australia is home. This country really is the lucky country. It's harsh, violent, forgiving, redeeming, breathtaking, soul-destroying. It gives life and takes life in the blink of an eye. I am astounded every day by the beatuy of my country.

So to come across a home in Marcus Beach, Queensland, that pays such careful and loving tribute to the land around it makes me insanely happy. This is the kind of home I dream about.

This is the Marcus Beach House by Bark Architects. It is 260m2 house on a 727m2 site, built in spotted gum hardwood timber and glass. It is contemporary, yet classic. It melds into the landscape, while still sitting apart from it. I am so in love with this house it hurts.

Sitting 250m from the beach, the house is styled on a basic "pavillion" idea, originally sketched in the sand during the first site inspection - see, that's the Aussie way of doing things! The 2 pavillions are placed either side of a venerable 100 year old Morton Bay Ash, which gives life to the proportions and scale used wihtin the dwelling.

The main western pavillion houses living spaces focused around a double height deck overlooking the swimming pool and northern garden. The Master Bedroom is accessed via a polycarbonate-clad stair tower that acts as a lantern at night.

The house employs sustainable design elements to passively defend the residents from the elements - windows and doors are strategically positioned to maximise the breeze, while roof overhangs protect the house from direct summer sunlight. There is no air conditioning in the house, nor is it wanted, and artificial lighting is kept to a minimum due to the generous amount and position of glazing, particularly facing the north.

Originally designed by Bark in 2002 the house recently found itself with new owners, who naturally came to the original architects to design alterations.

“It is our first project, which we had the interesting and fortunate opportunity to revisit with another client after a number of years,” says Steve Guthrie, Bark Principal. “The current owners have a very keen interest in art and design and are supportive custodians of the architecture.”

“A few key areas were elevated from a raw economical beach house with outdoor laundry and polished chipboard floors to include more comforts and a higher level of finish within the framework of the character of the house.”

Because of this relationship with the Morten Bay Ash, the pavilion spaces read like tree houses, from both inside and out, with a lightness of structure that is important in this part of the world.

“It is one of those houses which has a strong natural spirit,” Guthrie says. “It simply feels good and I think the experience of this for the clients and visitors comes from its inextricable link to landscape."
~Quote via HabitusLiving

~Images via Contemporist and HabitusLiving

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