A Living Extension of The Site – Bundeena Beach House by Grove Architects
Bundeena, NSW, Australia
With a native rooftop garden as its primary elevation, Bundeena Beach House is a product of its context. Grove Architects has conjured a unique response nurturing a relationship between inside and outside, and with the secluded beach it sits atop.
A product of the site it sits upon, Bundeena Beach House responds to a non-conventional downward sloping sectional embankment. Embedded with its intricate site challenges, Grove Architects concentrated on the unique potential that the exceptional views and generously dense native coastal landscape afford. Arranged over several levels, the home is approached at the highest level, where guests are greeted by a lush ‘green infinity edge’ native rooftop garden as the main announcing elevation. From this onset, the invitation to engage with the home as a tightly interwoven element of its landscape is clearly evident.
There is an earthed quality in how the built form is grounded to the slope, each floor plate tightly nudging its way down the slope toward the secluded beach. There are plays of tension throughout, referencing the rough rigidity of the coastal rock, and the calmed beach with its lapping waters. Rectangular in form, the exterior is clad in a combination of glass, timber and Corten steel, allowing for apertures to open to the elements. The simplicity and classic nature of the form become the shelter and interface between the interior and exterior zones, referencing a sense of the classical in its purity of form. Atop these elements is the sculptural ‘butterfly’ skylight, flooding the centre of the house with natural light, casting ever-changing geometric shadows internally and providing a subtle glimpse of the tree canopies above.
From each approach, from inside and out, the house and its placement in the landscape have been considered. The materiality is a response to the need for durability and robustness within its context. A Corten sleeping box emerges from the hill, floating above a glass living box, intersected by a timber multi-purpose box. The combined need for low-level maintenance and a sense of protection from its coastal location were key drivers in establishing the overall palette. Internally, concrete structural finishes floor, timber, plasterboard and plywood all combine in a place of non-trend driven, and a classic overall feel.
Bundeena Beach House responds to its site, and the environment, as a living and breathing box, operable to invitation. This stands in contrast to its neighbours and the rows of garage-lined entry points, with the sole focus on the outward facing view, and an imposition on the land, where less sensitive measures are at play. There is a moment of relief created by Grove Architects, where the considered approach from all levels imbues a certain curiosity and calmness. The connection of the street to the environment through to the beach and water beyond was key to the client’s brief, as was its need to be a house for the community. The sense of connection from the street through to the beach, offers a curated approach to site.
A product of the site it sits upon, Bundeena Beach House by Grove Architects responds to a non-conventional downward sloping sectional embankment.
Essentially a weekend home for a city-dwelling family, Bundeena Beach House offers a place of refuge from incessant urban life. Embracing its environment, outward looking and inward inviting, this is a house that breathes and makes the most of its proximity to the coast. Through designed mechanisms, cross-ventilation, natural sunlight and passive heat loading embedded into the materiality, the allowance for a sensitive, light ecological footprint is created. An elevation that not only greets the streetscape, but one that cools the home and provides a home for native fauna and flora, Grove Architects’ immersive approach to low maintenance occasional accommodation offers plentiful points of commendation.