Waratah House Published Architecure AU

AW's Waratah Weekender published on ArchitectureAU

This project for a family beach house not only amplifies the role of the ground by lifting it up 1.5 m but also multiplies it so that it performs roles that are simultaneously natural and social. The raised platform gives good view lines out into the bay, even when seated around the fire. It grants an easy transition to full-width platforms opening out to the southern sweep of the coast or the north sunlight beneath the gum trees.

The brief was unusual. The children were to have no allocated rooms but rather a locker and an invitation to live more spontaneously to counter the highly structured time of the city. A more natural rhythm is also evident in the way the house and its track to the beach are shared with the close community. The vitality of the central space benefits from the transparency of the house and the view from the roadside through to the ocean surf.

With its conscious visibility from the road, the raised ground of the living room even becomes a ‘little plaza’; a gathering place for the holidaying community amplified by the open home generosity of the owners and their three children.

There is always the possibility of escape up into the security of the plywood sleeping pods suspended between the recycled black butt columns. The ‘tree fort’ retreats hung within the timber lamella allow a mezzanine overview of the big room. Places that mediate between the outer and inner horizon. There is also an alternative escape to the more subdued light of the block work bunkroom below. The excavated heavy space - with its glimpses of the ground line - contrasts strongly with the tectonic timber frame holding the pods above the land in their tectonic timber framework.

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