Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto’s concept of the ‘primitive future’ describes the moments where, in a flash of creative certainty, we return to the most instinctual and intuitive ideas. It’s this theory that inspired architect, Warren Hasnoot, of Curious Practice when he embarked on the designs for this Newcastle beach house last year.
‘All materials we used we wanted to be raw and in their finished state,’ he explains, highlighting the blond plywood boards and compressed cement sheeting he used to transform the two-bedroom dwelling into a contemporary beach house. These materials create a warm and textured palette throughout, but also make the interior durable to all kinds of coastal wear and tear.
The bathroom looks almost like an Aesop store, with its exposed copper piping, bench tops made from shards of finished timber and slick brushed concrete. Small, perfectly fitted pennyround tiles contrast with the large, uninterrupted sheets of ply, lending a uniform detail to the washroom.
The whole house is ‘open but private’ at all opportunities, using retractable screens and sheets rather than doors to divide rooms. Views of lush greenery pop up in unexpected places throughout the house (in the carport underneath, through the slats concealing the outdoor staircase, and above the shower!) to create a crucial sense of connection with the landscape.
While taking advantage of the surrounding natural beauty, Warren and his team were also challenged by some environmental concerns – specifically, the chance of flooding in extreme weather. In response, the bedrooms were designed to sit on a raised plywood platform. As is often the way, though, this most difficult part of the build turned out to be the architect’s favourite! ‘The space under the bedrooms was almost leftover, but has become a beautiful outdoor room for the grandkids to play and connect with the garden.’