SWANSEA HOUSE

This house negotiates the environmental demands of coastal living. The land had been owned and used for holidays by the family since the 1960’s. The new architecture resolves a complex functional brief requiring discrete sleeping and living areas for at times in excess of 20 people, in separate family groups, while maintaining a sense of unity and greater family community. Connecting with the site and its family history, while understanding the broader environmental context were at the core of the architecture solution.

 

YEAR COMPLETED

2006

AWARDS

2008 - Australian Institute of Architects - Residential - New

AWARDS JURY CITATION

“This simple complex of buildings and the spaces they create successfully captures the shack culture and all it evokes. The client’s extended family has fond memories and associations with the site, with the brief requiring the permutations and extensions of three generations to be accommodated. 1 + 2 Architecture has designed a retreat that is sure to nurture and continue this tradition, with three separate pavilions each for a different generation that forms a central outdoor social space.

A simple and understated wall that demarcates the natural vegetation from the inhabited platform interrupts the gentle slope of the coastal plain. Two pavilions reach out over this wall to the sea, a third anchors the complex at the rear and forms a linear central space.

Pavilion, social space, shelter and a framed view are all brought together in a wonderfully simple yet effective and evocative play.

Overall simple forms are deliberately chosen to unify a complex program. Internally, spaces are unified with uninterrupted ceilings. Low bay windows, bold cut-outs that form decks, and glass topped dividing walls create a wonderful array of subspaces that accommodate the varied needs of the extended family. The choice of unadorned timber and painted fibre cement sheeting as external cladding reinforces the shack references. This theme is taken into the interior where a limited palette of white plasterboard walls, plywood fittings that double as room dividers and timber floors further unify the spaces. The shack, its reflection of simple lifestyle, of intimate relationship with context, of economy of form and material, its blending with the landscape are all beautifully reinterpreted in this house.”

PUBLICATIONS

Norrie, Helen, ‘Swansea Shack' Australian Architectural Review, Issue 108, 2008, pp.112-119

Burton Taylor, Jane, 'Mix and Match' Habitus, Issue 04 July-September2009, pp132-139

Better Homes & Gardens, ‘A house on the bay’, Issue December 2008, pp.160-161

KEY COLLABORATORS

Builder: Carter & Franks

Structural Engineers: Gandy & Roberts

Building Surveyor: Pitt & Sherry