Openly Embracing – House for BEES by Downie North
Inspired by a love for their garden, the owners of House for BEES acknowledge a deep connection to the natural world and the organically occurring structures that emerge when nature is left to its own devices. Downie North creates a new addition for the residence that provides a sheltered, outdoor picnic space – open and connected yet protected from the elements.
Located in the harbourside suburb of Mosman, the original Federation home speaks to its origins through formal planning within, defined by the historic capabilities and innovations of the time. By creating an engaged living space to the rear, blurring implied thresholds and bridging indoor-outdoor living, a connection with the back garden is made. The result embraces united living whilst celebrating the beauty of the native surrounds. With architecture by Downie North and the interior design conceived in collaboration with Seasonal Scout, the combined approach ensures the dwelling harmoniously intertwines the built and the natural, shaping a bespoke series of soft spaces where one can relish the day.
The idea for the new addition came from the owners’ endearing connection to a native beehive and how the structure could be manifested physically as part of their home. The space creates an opportunity to gather and connect, with open sides that engage the landscape, gently inviting in nature’s presence. In creating an open living, dining and kitchen space, the heritage elements of the residence remain contained to the front of the site, with the rear as its own destination. Capturing northern sunlight and easterly breezes, the sliding doors on the sides fold back and transform the spaces. The seamless merging of the built and natural grounds the home and its purpose to the surrounding context, merging the interiors with the outside garden.
With the owners wanting to live more passively, the addition optimises orientation and ventilation, controlling the amount of light and heat let in as a result. Whilst the thermal mass of the original dwelling stores warm and cool temperatures, the addition counters this by remaining open and spacious, so that the elements can be controlled yet also enjoyed as part of everyday rituals. With a love for both cooking and entertaining, the owners required a breathable space that combined these passions with an open outlook. The nearby coast also allows the breeze to freely move throughout, and views outward consider neighbouring homes to ensure privacy.
The space creates an opportunity to gather and connect, with open sides that engage the landscape, gently inviting in nature’s presence.
Extending the established site, House for BEES is crafted with beloved moments within, enabling the owners to feel a sense of personal reflection. Through nurturing the surroundings, Downie North creates an addition that provides much more than shelter, facilitating opportunities for respite in the open.