Honest and Responsive – Bendalong Beach House by Madeleine Blanchfield Architects
Honest and responsive, Bendalong Beach House openly welcomes its surroundings in and embraces its location on the south coast of New South Wales. Madeleine Blanchfield Architects creates key connections between inside and out, simplifying the residential condition and proposing a welcoming and approachable abode.
Originally built as an occasional home, after numerous repeat and prolonged stays its retired owners decided to make it their permanent address. As a home built for her parents, Madeleine Blanchfield wanted to create a calming and restorative home that would expand and contract with visiting family and friends as needed. Key to this was the flexibility in planning and the ability to compartmentalise smaller areas within a greater whole. Open to the elements intentionally, it is not uncommon for nearby kangaroos to stop by, and the introduction of operable façade elements allows the dissemination of the built border, encouraging that interaction with the natural environment. Madeleine Blanchfield Architects intentionally connectsto the site’s coastal milieu through the raw and honest materiality of the home’s composition.
Built by Sanders Construction Projects, Bendalong Beach House is located in a bushfire prone area and much of its surrounding bushland bares scars to this effect. Allowing the home to literally breathe with its site was integral, and the resulting exposed nature of the structure mirrors the landscape it sits amongst. The connection to the surrounding garden and landscaped elements adds a formality to the home, while also offering the clearance from vegetation needed in such areas. Responding to the many owner-built beach houses in the area, the home presents as a one storey home with an intentionally uncomplicated simplicity, to sit comfortably within the streetscape.
The infusion of calm was key throughoutand is expressed both in the form that emerges, the materiality and the connectedness of the spaces within the home. In its humbleness, there is a deliberate lack of the ornate superfluous, creating a home that speaks to its location and has its own inherent sense of place. The feeling of camping on a site was the driving muse, and by enabling the surrounding encasing façade to open, this feeling is easily replicated. The simplicity of the lean-to roof structure is also recalled in the subtly sloping flat roof and its uncomplicated vertical panels. The structural system is expressed, and its elements create slight and slender framed views outward. As with its structure, the internal materiality is uncomplicated and sees polished concrete combine with muted timber elements, terrazzo and subdued monochromatic painted surfaces.
As a home built for her parents, Madeleine Blanchfield wanted to create a calming and restorative home that would expand and contract with visiting family and friends as needed.
There is a sense of impermanence about Bendalong Beach House as it stands emanating a small pavilion on its site. Through a celebration of its casual coastal context, Madeleine Blanchfield Architects has embraced the casual and open nature of its community and expressed this sense of place through form.