The Coolum Bays Beach House is located in Queensland, Australia.
It was designed by Aboda Design Group.
Description by Adoda Design Group:
As former owner of the adjoining property, the client’s imperative was to accommodate a family with the three children nearing adulthood and take advantage of the amazing potential for white water views from the Coolum Bays all the way to Noosa Heads. The challenge was to accommodate a steep driveway from Fauna Terrace, which tucked under the home to accommodate three cars (without requiring excavation of rock), half-storey accommodation above all within the local planning envelope.
Once the site constraints were fully understood, the building form was developed to accommodate the four en suited bedrooms, two living areas plus media room, kitchen, dining, laundry, home office, two powder rooms, workshop, pool and rainwater tank.
From the outset, the client (also the builder) confirmed the preferred floor construction was suspended concrete and the planning was then explored to exploit the best of this material, including large spans and cantilevers. Similarly, the desire to project the roof over the pool and deck could only be realised in structural steel – achieving a dramatic plane which ‘letterboxes’ the ocean vistas through a horizontal aperture.
The client also requested a durable, low maintenance home that would handle the extreme weather events that can occur in this location. As a result of its projection from the hillside, the wind and rain can be torrential, however through clever planning the family room was located at the south east end of the building, providing a buffer, creating comfortable, protected outdoor space on the adjacent deck.
As an informal family, the intent was to have a home that would ensure that everyone remained connected to one another, whilst also achieving distinct public and private spaces. Predominantly, this was achieved by stepping the building down the site, so that spaces cascade as half levels. The only full flight is to the private master bedroom suite located on the upper floor.
Again through clever planning and the integration of operable and fixed sun control devices (batten screens, vertical blades, natural vegetation), the home enjoys wonderful privacy from the street and neighbours, all without requiring boundary fencing.
Living spaces are arranged along this axis, all with access to northern light. A consequence of the steepness of the site was that the only compliant driveway location would be along the northern boundary, with car parking tucked beneath the house to maximise the northern exposure. Living spaces are arranged around the pool, which brings the benefits of cooling breezes and dappled light.
All three en suites are arranged to the west of the house, to act as a thermal buffer between the hot afternoon sun and the main living and bedroom spaces. Windows are kept to a minimum on this elevation and in the case of the master suite, are covered with a feature sun control batten screen over the fully operable louvres.
On the southern elevation, glazing is again used sparingly to achieve vistas of trees and the bays, and draw cool breezes through the house.
On the northern elevation, shading devices range from operable vertical blades to the living; timber batten screens to the study and master bedroom; and a large, projecting cantilevered roof over the pool and deck.
Glazing is generally highly operable stacking sliding doors or louvres and incorporate low-e glass. Fixed glass is used in locations heavily exposed to gales.
The materials sourced were a combination of concrete and steel for structural strength and durability, both readily available and recyclable, and locally sourced pine framing generally, with hardwood used for exposed timber elements. Wall finishes were Rockcote polymer render or James Hardie lightweight fibre cement cladding. Glazing and the feature entry awning are lightweight aluminium. Western red cedar was selected for the battens due to its hardiness.
The home is defined by clearly articulated shapes, the rectangular white master en suite box, flanked by the raking off form concrete ground floor en suites, in a symmetrical composition, capped by the feature polycarbonate awning. Contrast is achieved between the lightness of the upper elements and frameless glass entry door, counterpointed by the heaviness and solidity of the concrete boxes, feature tiled external walls and landscape gabions.
To the northern elevation, the composition is more dynamic, projecting from the hillside out towards the bays, the cantilever achieved with a combination of up and down-turned rendered concrete beams and concealed steel members hidden in the deck and roofs.
The home connects to Fauna Terrace, the bays and to Noosa Heads. At the street end, a steep slope has been tamed with the introduction of large format off form concrete ‘steppers’ and the conscious decision not to fence the site. Separation, as is the case internally, is achieved via levels rather than physical barriers. At the eastern end, the projection of the living spaces, particularly the family room with picture window focuses the connection to Point Perry and First Bay. From the bench seating, views are captured across the deck and pool all the way up the coast to Sunshine Beach.
The aesthetic appeal, whist unconventional, has garnered admirers both locally, who believe it captures a refined and elegant beach lifestyle without being derivative of past methods of creating the typical ‘beach house’, and internationally, demonstrated by the overwhelming request to feature the house in magazines, books and online.
All spaces except the upper floor master suite, which is a full storey above the ground floor to achieve the best of the views, are connected by half-levels, to maintain a connectivity through the house. Furnishings are a combination of contemporary freestanding pieces (eg. living room suite) and built in elements (external bench seat, internal family banquettes, master bedroom day bed, all designed in house). Views of the bays are achieved from the front entry right through the house and all but one bedroom enjoy water views. Wherever possible, spaces remain open plan (master en suite) to maximise the openness and sense of space. The tones and textures of the materials (timber, stone, carpet, tile) are accentuated over ‘feature’ colours, with highlights added in the soft furnishings and fabrics. The form of the interior cabinetry reflects in Calacutta marble and timber the white box featured on the street elevation (in white render and western red cedar).
The two en suites contained within the off form concrete continue the same rugged materiality internally, softened with crisp fittings, mirror and floor tile. These spaces are naturally illuminated with a feature skylight slicing through the concrete.
Detailing took into consideration the often formidable driving wind and rain to provide weather protection (particularly to the south east) to exclude draft and water.
‘Coolum Bays Beach House‘ was also awarded as a winner in numerous residential categories at both regional and state level at the BDAQ awards in 2013 and won the overall best residential design in Queensland.
Design Office: Aboda Design Group
Location: Coolum Beach, Queensland, Australia
Constractor: Fauna Homes
Photographs: Paul Smith Images