Cove House by Justin Humphrey Architect
Justin Humphrey Architect has designed a vividly modern residence on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
The Cove House features lively interiors that seem to flow from one space to another, connected but also made distinct with a diverse palette of materials. The open floor plan of the interiors brings plenty of natural light inside, at the same time, opening up to beautiful sights of the surroundings.
Cove House is a rich and tactile exploration into thresholds and edges. Thresholds between public and private space within the house are explored, along with a testing of the edge between the house and its external context. This edge was important due to the site being adjacent to an easement, allowing the opportunity to engage with the neighbourhood on three sides. It is common within Sanctuary Cove for planning restrictions to dictate the need to build to the boundary along such easements.
A recurrent benign response to this constraint has developed – one which we aimed to challenge with Cove House. We chose to express and celebrate this edge through a grand tactile gesture that beckons engagement and communicates the materiality of the house to passing neighbours. A finely-detailed tapered roofline floats intentionally over the concrete easement wall, simultaneously adding refinement to the robust concrete while reducing the visual scale of the building. This has helped the house bed into its domestic context.
The brief from the client called for a materially-rich and tactile house that reflected their love of subtropical architecture through spatial interplay between internal and external space. The tone of this relationship is set right at the start as the concrete wall guides visitors through a street-facing external garden room. The success of these external garden spaces were largely the result of close planning and coordination with the landscape consultant regarding plant selection and layout. The garden room is the first threshold between public and private.
A fine battened timber screen suggests enclosure, while the open sky, water view and immediate immersion in tropical landscaping provoke engagement and connection. The actual front door hasn’t been reached, and yet you feel as though you have entered the house. The programming of this space accommodates the private entry of two bedrooms via an external hall. These are separated visually and physically from the main public entry sequence by a series of mature gardens. These gardens continue into the heart of the house, further reinforcing the ever-present relationship between internal and external space, while continuing to demarcate public space from private.
The ground plane of the house is articulated and meanders up and down at times encouraging engagement or reflection. This manipulation responds to part of the brief by allowing the house to flexibly accommodate both the intimate daily patterns of life and also large social gatherings. A single floating roof plane acts to organise the various spaces created by this ground plane articulation. The strength and simplicity of the roof plane was critical to the design and was achieved through close collaboration with the structural engineering team.