Above the clear blue water of Gordons Bay, this house embodies the spirit of seaside living in response to a magical site: endless ocean, rocky headland and an ideal north-east aspect. The building’s nuanced design shies away from a ‘look how clever I am’ approach.
Conceptually, the starting point began with Gordons Bay. The clients’ like simplicity and the house needed to speak their language: lean and raw and full of spatial experiences that respond to the seaside location. Bedrooms, living, kitchen, music room, cellar, study, teenage retreat and terraces protected from the weather were all part of the brief. Spaces are designed to connect with the view, but often in more subtle layered ways to create interiors that are private and introspective too. Materials had to be robust: brick, stone and concrete are left raw and wrap, reveal and protect.
Inside the gate the house slowly unfolds. A reflection pond and the sound of waves on the rocks below lead to the main entry where views open up to the horizon. This dynamic connection with nature continues throughout the interior. Terracotta bricks, perforated and finished in white ceramic glaze on one side wrap the façade like a veil, tempering views and letting the house breathe, while a catwalk along the double-height breezeway provides a lookout. It’s a grand gesture that offers two-way privacy and a refracted play of light to the living areas below.
At ground level where the family gathers, the view opens up to the ocean while strategically angled walls and openings for privacy and discovery lead through private, communal and cosy areas. In the master bedroom and bathroom above, this takes shape in a series of concealed peepholes for gazing at the water and along the rocky coast. On the entry level, the office has a primary view to the horizon. In dramatic contrast, the music room below evolved in response to the site’s excavation and is introspective, enjoying the quiet beauty of the site’s subterranean sandstone rock face. Sliding doors allow you to open up the space to the breeze. A landscaped courtyard flows from the main living space at ground level. Here relaxed outdoor dining is private and sheltered from southerly winds. The reticulated pond, trees and awnings for shading, and an inbuilt pizza oven, has created a space the family is drawn into. Walking down the stairs to the waterfront garden, light is dappled through breeze blocks. Way above, the rooftop terrace is the place to watch swimmers diving off the rocks into the sea below.
The perfect north-easterly aspect, a dynamic plan that engages the whole site, materials that are robust, responsive to the seasons and the tough seaside location, and the integration of gardens and water elements, are all central to a rigorous and sustainable design approach. Working with a local brick maker, perforated terracotta breeze blocks were designed for the house, providing passive cooling and control of the northern sun. Throughout the interior small strategic apertures were integrated to boost cross ventilation. Rainwater is harvested for the garden and plants are used on terraces, garden walls and roofs, both as a device to absorb stormwater and a thermal buffer. Bringing natural light and ventilation into the music room on the lower ground level was one of the biggest challenges. By excavating below the driveway and garage, metal grills now capture the sun throughout the day and allow the natural flow of water to cascade down the sandstone rock during rain.
As Alvar Aalto said, a building has to respond to the multiplicity of the site. Here, it would have been easy to treat the view as the only hero but that would have been one-dimensional. We wanted to pay respect to the coastal context by exploring the site like you would a medieval city. Looking for small and often surprising details became a dominant and repetitive focus that has energised the house and its occupants.
设计公司：Renato D’Ettorre Architects