Bunker Down In This NSW Coast Beach House

How do you design for a site with extreme wind conditions and close neighbours, while also providing a sense of connection to the stunning coastal views?

This quandary was presented to Clayton Orszaczky architects in a brief for a beach house at Gerroa on the New South Wales coast. The design response is a clever elevation, inspired by Robin Boyd’s iconic Lyons House, that captures seclusion and connection in equal measure. We also just can’t get enough of that dreamy timber panelling!

Miriam McGarry

The Beach House by Clayton Orszaczky architects. Photo – Chris Warnes.

The brief was to design a house that offered protection from the wind, and connection to the beach. Photo – Chris Warnes.

Interior detail. Photo – Chris Warnes.

The house is split into two levels, with the majority to the ‘living’ spaces on the upper floor. Photo – Chris Warnes.

Sliding timber screens allow the owners to shift the flow of light and breeze. Photo – Chris Warnes.

A courtyard offers outdoor access, without exposure to the wind. Photo – Chris Warnes.

Strong clean exterior lines. Photo – Chris Warnes.

Views to the Seven Mile Beach coastline in NSW. Photo – Chris Warnes.

Miriam McGarry
11th of February 2019

Buffeted by severe coastal winds, and hemmed between neighbouring properties… the clients who owned this Gerroa site on the NSW coast approached Michelle Orszaczky and Rebekah Clayton of Clayton Orszaczky architects with a challenging brief!

Passive environmental planning was a guiding design principle in developing this project, where the main bedroom and living spaces are elevated and open into a large internal courtyard, to capture the northern sun. Rebekah Clayton explains ‘this presented an opportunity to create a building where the façade would envelop an operable interior, providing protection and shelter for its occupants.’

The home takes direction from Robin Boyd’s iconic Lyons House, particularly in dealing with the boxed-in site and close neighbours. ‘We needed a design solution similar to the Lyons house, where the living spaces would not be overshadowed’ Rebekah explains.

A sense of openness was achieved by elevating the home and creating a sense of hierarchy between spaces. The upper level is shrouded in sliding timber screens, that enable the residents to direct the flow of light and breeze and connect to the stunning coastline. Rebekah describes the lower level as ‘more utilitarian’, where the garage, laundry, family bathroom and bunk room are located.

The interiors are furnished with natural stone and polished concrete, materials that were selected for warmth, simplicity and longevity. Outside, Rebekah highlights ‘the strong rhythm of the external timber cladding serves to contrast the plainness of the black brick box below.’

The success of this beach house is in providing shelter from the elements, while also offering outdoor space and connection to the wild beaches. The home offers both a sanctuary from – and connection to – the stunning Seven Mile Beach that rolls along the front of the property.

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