Austinmer Beach House

Austinmer, NSW
Austinmer 001

Located within the coastal community of Austinmer, this house enjoys an elevated position with views of the ocean and Illawarra escarpment. The site was heavily overlooked by the main road, beach and headland. The brief was to design a sophisticated retreat that, whilst capturing the views, remained private from onlookers. The site was cleared and reshaped as a cliff-like setting for two white pavilions. These quiet, minimal buildings are clad in a coastal, white weatherboard. They’re joined by a glass vestibule that encapsulates the rising and setting sun on the east to west axis. The main entry is from the road that runs behind the property; here we cut through the middle of the podium creating a tunnel, so that the first thing you see upon entering is the expansive sea beyond.

Both pavilions open at their corners and are part of a sophisticated double façade system. Doors, windows and shutters can slide away into wall cavities, leaving perfectly framed openings to appreciate the ever-changing aspects. These shutters also act as a vale of shade and privacy, which in turn, creates a unique and tempered quality of internal light. The wild natural surroundings contrast against the calm, peaceful interiors. The house successfully fulfills this challenging brief. It exudes protection, whilst embracing all the best elements of a modern beach house.

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