Project: Bundeena Beach House
Architects: Grove Architects
Location: Bundeena, Sydney, Australia
Area: 2,852 sf
Photographs by: Michael Nicholson Photography
Bundeena Beach House by Grove Architects
In the outskirts of Sydney is the village of Bundeena. This small coastal village is the perfect spot for a beach house retreat and is where Grove Architects have been commissioned for the Bundeena Beach House project, a compact modern dwelling with a living roof and simply breathtaking views.
A weekend escape with a strong connection to its environment, this is a house of its context. A house of its environment. A house of its section. A house with a native roof garden as its primary elevation, and a sculptural skylight as its primary interface. A house with a playful interaction between inside and outside, public and private.
The house does not attempt to relate to its built context but rather stands in contrast to it, providing a moment of relief in the street. Set low, the house presents its roof as its primary elevation. Conceived as a native garden, the roof announces the house to the community, connecting the street with the water and expanding the adjacent reserve. A sculptural skylight glows at night, signaling the house beneath, drawing sunlight inside, and connecting the inside out, encouraging a playful interaction with the sun’s movement.
Beneath its roof, the house is conceived as an object in its landscape. A corten sleeping box emerges from the hill, floating above a glass living box, intersected by a timber mulit-purpose box. Clearly articulated, each box is clad in a single durable material, selected in direct response to the coastal location. With fixed perforated corten screens to the sleeping box windows and a fixed pergola to the glass box living spaces, operable elements are minimised to reduce maintenance in the corrosive coastal environment.
The house serves to connect the inhabitants with the landscape beneath and beyond while engaging them with the transience of the environment surrounding them. It harnesses that environment for light, breeze, heat, power, and water while protecting the occupants from the harshness of its elements.
A large skylight and void invite day-long solar penetration. Its butterfly shape restricts penetration to strategically oriented, vertical triangular panes, preventing overheating, while encouraging a playful interaction with the sun’s movement. Controlled openings with fixed perforated screens to the upper-level windows, and a pergola to the lower level, provide protection from the western sun.
In addition to its ecological benefits, the green roof reduces heat absorption, provides insulation, and reduces solar gain and heat loss. Collected rainwater is recycled to irrigate the garden, while a sixteen panel 5.7kW photovoltaic system and Tesla battery, seen as a linear reflection pond within the roof garden design, provides all the owner’s electricity needs. It was important with the PV panels, that they are thoroughly integrated into the house and roof garden design, serving as an example of how environmental features can enhance, rather than detract, from a design.
The house is gas-free, with the PVs providing all electricity, hot water, heating, cooling and cooking needs. The only fossil fuel the house uses is minimal surplus electricity needs from the grid. While it uses collected rainwater for garden irrigation, the house itself is connected to the main water supply.