Shared Family Spaces - Avoca Weekender by Architecture Saville Isaacs
Avoca, NSW, Australia

Photography Kata Bayer
Words Emma-Kate Wilson

Sleeping up to 14 people, the Avoca Weekender by Architecture Saville Isaacs is a testament to the intelligent design of shared family space. Created to be robust for the children, yet elegant and relaxing space for the adults, the project is the ideal family holiday residence.

To accommodate multi-generational living (even if only during holidays), the architects worked to create zones in the home that could be used for all members of the family. A west-facing veranda opens onto the front garden and pool, becoming a key outdoor social space. The weekender also offers children’s playrooms and private adult spaces.

The house makes the most of its prime setting overlooking the Australia coastal bush.

Outside, there are plenty of lounge areas, including west and east verandas, a front garden and BBQ, allowing for ample sunlight at different points of the day throughout and around the entire house. Inside, the kitchen, dining, living area opens to the outdoor BBQ, and west verandas are centred around a fireplace. A rumpus room completes the level, opening up onto the east veranda.

The weekender also offers children’s playrooms and private adult spaces.

The living zone occupies the top floor of the house to make the most of the spectacular vista views. The kitchen is at the heart of the first floor, with the kitchen bench transforming into the staircase, becoming the core of the house. The other rooms wrap around this central heart, defined by timber that contrasts against the surrounding concrete and white walls.

The nature around inspires the Avoca Weekender, where the bush informs the interior landscape with organic materials and textures.

The timber slats are mirrored throughout the entire design, connecting the visual elements of a house combined with the outdoors. The joinery was carefully considered to reflect the construction of the build and the attention to structural detail. As the living room façade folds open, the roof appears to hover over the house, tipped up to the north to capture the winter sun. Another screen wraps the entire weekender, providing privacy from the busy road and northern neighbour, as well as sun control.

The living zone occupies the top floor of the house to make the most of the spectacular vista views.

The bottom level, home to the bedrooms and children’s zone, is placed within the trees. The master bedroom faces northeast, with a corner window to maximise a light-filled, tranquil room, overlooking an abundance of foliage from the surrounding trees. The entire lower level makes use of its northern aspect with, the children’s bunk rooms opening on to an outdoor play space which flows into a terrace garden, set within the vegetation.

Sustainability is critical to the architects’ practice, and therefore to the aims of this project. They employed techniques such as ESD (Environmentally Sustainable Design) principles and durable, recycled, low-toxic, cost-effective materials. Utilising thermal mass, double glazing and shading, the home is warmed by solar hydronic floor heating and a gas fireplace and cooled naturally via cross ventilation cross ventilation and stack effect, supplemented by ceiling fans, with air-conditioning in the rumpus and master bedrooms only. To further enhance the design’s sustainable design credentials, rainwater collection is used for toilets, laundry, and watering the native landscaping.

The bottom level, home to the bedrooms and children’s zone, is placed within the trees.

Combining sustainable design principles with architecture designed to support multi-generational living, the Avoca Weekender is beautifully placed to facilitate short, intense moments of connection between family members, and with the surrounding natural environment.

One of the essential elements of the brief was to have the BBQ area visible by every section of the living room.

The duality of the kitchen bench sees it blends into the staircase, perched over the steps.
The house is on a slopping site and appears from the first street as one level. However, the building grows down and out offering a generous home.
Materials help the house be sustainable with polished concrete on the upper living level and recycled timber throughout.
Published 3 January, 2020
Photography  Kata Bayer
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