A Secluded Beachside Sanctuary, Accessible Only By Boat!

If you ever had to make a diorama at school, the Hart House by Casey Brown Architecture might bring on some fond memories of cardboard boxes and cellophane windows. This boat-only access home elevates the diorama form, to incredible new design heights.

We chat with architect Robert Brown about re-imagining the one-room Australian beach shack for contemporary living. A house worth rowing home to!

Miriam McGarry

The Hart House by Casey Brown Architecture. Photo – Rhys Holland.

The home is wrapped corrugated iron, and opens onto views of Great Mackerel Beach. Photo – Rhys Holland.

There is no road access to this isolated ‘box’ home. Photo – Rhys Holland.

A double height living area welcomes in views and natural light. Photo – Rhys Holland.

The ethos behind this home is ‘less, but better quality.’  Photo – Rhys Holland.

Hard to complain with this view over Great Mackerel Beach. Photo – Rhys Holland.

The Hart House is lined with warm birch wood. Photo – Rhys Holland.

Timber flooring and birch wood walls glow in the natural light. Photo – Rhys Holland.

Miriam McGarry
5th of April 2019

The Hart House by Casey Brown Architecture hovers above the shoreline of Great Mackerel Beach in NSW, like an open fronted (designer) box. The corrugated aluminium shell wraps around three sides, leaving a glass façade looking outwards the sun and beachfront views. The innovative design responds to the steepness and isolation of the site, in a modern take on the traditional one-room Aussie beach shack.

Architect Robert Brown explains that the single ‘main’ room of the house is comprised of a double height kitchen, dining and living space, ‘which has a utility pod within in containing the bathroom and pantry.’ A loft mezzanine floats above, and the master bedroom is located below, opening out onto a sandstone terrace (constructed from stone from the site).

The external aluminium shroud is punctuated with small openings for ventilation and light, and a window in the rear of the building thoughtfully frame the cliffs and surrounding bush land.

The philosophy of this small footprint home is ‘less, but better quality.’ This ethos is apparent in all of the material choices – the spaces are lined in birch wood, with timber flooring, and concrete benches. Robert highlights ‘the tactile quality of the materialised used resonated with the artistic bent of the owners; one of whom is a ceramicist.’ Decking, flooring and doors are constructed from spotted gum, which is both a sustainable and fire resistant material.

Due to the isolation and water-only access, the home is designed to be as self-sufficient as possible. In addition to using on-site sandstone to anchor the home, the roof houses solar panels for energy, and rainwater is harvested. A modern boxed beach house, that reflects contemporary responsibilities to the environment, without compromising on aesthetics!

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