Bundeena House – Awards Shortlist - Misc. AU
Bundeena House – Awards Shortlist

Bundeena House – Awards Shortlist

Words by RAA Architects

RAAarchitects appreciate the recognition recieved for the Bundeena House which has been shortlisted for the following awards:

Australian Institute of Architects – Sustainability

Houses Awards – Best New House over 200sqm

Houses Awards – Sustainability

TIDA awards – Kitchen

The Plan Awards (Italy) – Best New House

The elevated angled balcony opens to the north and the tree canopy

Bundeena House

The site was one of last built upon lots in the subdivision of a former Uniting Church campsite on the western side of the steep hill behind Bundeena Beach in the Royal National Park.

The owner, who worked as a carpenter on the construction of the first four houses in the original subdivision in 2007, was given the opportunity to return to Bundeena and purchase this challenging block 10 years later.

The project was initially thought of as an investment and later as a week-ender for the client and his family of four. However, during construction (owner-builder), the family fell in love with this little coastal village and have decided to live there permanently.

The house nestles below street level to retain views over it from neighbouring houses. It was conceived as a treehouse with open platforms nestled amongst the tree canopies. It is elevated on steel columns to minimise disturbance to the rock outcrops and vegetation and to reach for sunlight and views of the beach and water beyond.

The journey through the site starts at the heavy off-form concrete garage, proceeds over a rock ledge between twisted fig trees to the house. Inside, the envelope gradually opens up to reveal the tree canopy above and distant views beyond. The culmination is the narrow, fragile point at the end of the deck where you are almost completely suspended in the sky.

The plan is a very simple shape with a rectangle and a right angle triangle forming two separate roofs and two split-level living areas beneath. The height and angle of these roofs creates a complex and dynamic internal space which is exaggerated by using a single material, birch ply, for walls and ceiling.

These floating roofs allow views of the surrounding trees and dappled light to enter the house and allow views through the house as you descend from the street.

Traditional beachside holiday-home materials are employed throughout the project with steel framing, cement sheet (Barestone) external walls, metal roofing, plywood internal linings and timber floors. The simplicity of the materials is offset by the precision of the construction and detailing.

The owner’s passion for the project is clear from the quality of the construction and the investment in the long term performance of the building. The design includes passive solar measures such as large eaves and overhangs to northern and western glazing, high performance glazing and operable openings for cross ventilation.

The garage supports a 6.8 KW solar system that powers an electric heat pump, which regulates both hot and cold (4°C) water tanks. Hot water supplies radiators for heating and the cold tank cools the air before being ducted into the two living areas in summer. The system is currently energy positive and is expected to remain so even with four full time occupants.

This beautifully built house is the product of a relatively small budget but a huge investment of time, care and commitment by the owner.

Birch ply lines the walls and ceilings and highlight windows allow natural light to penetrate the building
The north facade has deep eaves to reduce summer sun
The house tucked below the rock shelf with view through the highlight windows
Kitchen opening up to reveal the sandstone rock face
Plan – Upper Level
Section through house and garage

Photography – Michael Nicholson

Builder – Join Constructions

Project team – Erik Rudolfsson, Tom Pinyon, Lester Fei, Joseph Alliker

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