Defiant and Unassuming – House at Pretty Beach by Lahznimmo Architects

Words by Bronwyn Marshall
Architecture by Lahznimmo Architects
Photography by Brett Boardman
Build by Blair Build
Interior Design by Lahznimmo Architects
Landscape Designer Lahznimmo Architects

Defying its challenging site, House at Pretty Beach sits confidently anchored to site through a weighted materiality and solidity of form. Lahznimmo Architects aligns the resulting home with the existing contour lines of the terrain, using the natural elements as support and creating a uniquely immersed home in the process.

Set amongst a fragile and sensitive eco system, House at Pretty Beach allows its owners to become enveloped within rare and distinctive natural surrounds, while avoiding compromise through the integration of systems and refinement. Developing any residence upon a steep slope can be a deterrent for many, with the appeal of a flattened terrain the favoured path, however the owners were intent on finding a solution to allow occupation. Working closely with Lahznimmo Architects over many years, the solution lay in following the existing established contour lines of the slope, and following nature in a way, to respond and live alongside it.

A robust nature inspires the materiality and see the use of blockwork comprise the overall form, protecting and providing a sense of shelter for the owners.

Also designing the surrounding landscape, Lahznimmo Architects considered the impact on the site from a high level, ensuring that the architectural and build elements could be softened by the natural. The encasing harder and softer introduced elements then create a buffer and transition between the two. Set amongst the treetops and trunks, the home then opens generously to the surrounding dense woodland it sits within, further emphasised through large, glazed elements, framing views out. A robust nature inspires the materiality and see the use of blockwork comprise the overall form, protecting and providing a sense of shelter for the owners.

Imagined as a low-maintenance home, openings act as a reminder of the location, while also creating a feeling like the forest and ferns are within arms reach. Home to the vulnerable Red Crowned Toadlet, nearing endangered status, ensuring a minimal impact both on site but on the surrounding ecosystem and habitat was key. Access both into the site and during construction needed to be considered also, ensuring as little disturbance to what existed prior as possible. By aligning the structure lengthways as a linear insertion to the site, the form could nestle back into the slope with a series of platforms that transition down from the interior to the exterior decks, and then into the forest bed.

Access both into the site and during construction needed to be considered also, ensuring as little disturbance to what existed prior as possible.

Designed with conscience, House at Pretty Beach inserts itself as a resilient and responsive structure amongst its bushfire prone surrounds. Despite hesitancy by many to avoid, Lahznimmo Architects instead proceeded along with a determined client to achieve a sensitive outcome.