Bundeena is a small village, on the southern side of Port Hacking, 29 km south of the CBD of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Despite being so close to this city of 5.2 million people, it feels very far away because the village is surrounded by the Royal National Park, Port Hacking and the Pacific Ocean.
The site is in a subdivision of a former Uniting Church campsite on the western side of the steep wooded hill behind Bundeena’s main street and Bundeena Beach.
The Bundeena House was conceived as a treehouse with open platforms nestled amongst the tree canopies. It is elevated on steel columns to minimise disturbance to the rock outcrops and vegetation and to reach for sunlight and views of the beach and water and bushland beyond.
The plan is a simple shape with a rectangle and a triangle forming two separate roofs and two split-level living areas below. The height and angle of these roofs create a complex and dynamic internal space. The floating roofs allow views of the surrounding trees and dappled light to enter the house and allow views through to parts of the house as you descend from the street.
The kitchen, at the entry to the house, is the pivotal point of the home. The kitchen allows a discreet visual connection to the street and during the entry sequence from the garage and the pedestrian entry and down the winding open timber stairs to the entry deck.
The kitchen is positioned at the connection between the upper level open-plan adjacent dining area, the lowered living room and external decks and to the staircase to the lower ground bedrooms. From the kitchen you can survey the house as well as enjoying the distance views of the beach and bushland beyond and the immediate natural features of sandstone outcrops and large figs trees.
Significant challenges were overcome by the structural engineer to design a steel structure with few internal walls, clerestory windows, and cantilevered balconies. The required structural columns were hidden inside the full-height joinery sections of the kitchen.
Precision in construction and rigorous detailing enhance the simplicity of the materials. The simple palette of traditional beach-home materials was followed through from the outside to the inside. The black polyurethane for the joinery was matched with the external and internal metalwork. The formed concrete island benchtop was designed to relate to the external cement sheet cladding. The birch plywood shelving reflects the lining of the internal wall and ceilings and is also a contrasting element to the black joinery.
Energy and water efficient appliances and fixtures follow the clients’ vision of sustainability, along with the solar powered heat-pump for heating and cooling.
We are architects who believe you can improve the way people live through good design. We think that good design is functional, rational, sustainable, adaptable, innovative and joyful.
We enjoy the learning process and invest time in new building types. Current experience includes housing, apartments, offices, boarding houses, dental and medical centres, nightclubs and bars, interior fit-outs, child care, aged care, furniture, chapel and mortuary.
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