House H+M

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The Round House is a holiday house, designed for a family with a connection to Yanchep that predates the brick and tile McMansions we have come to expect along our coastline as the freeway extends and makes suburbs of holiday hamlets.

The building is a study in pure geometry exploring possibilities for simultaneous privacy and connection for a family with four young boys, two of which have severe disabilities.

By coring the building’s spaces at the centre and edge, protected outdoor spaces have been created. These are occupied but also have the potential to be borrowed – where light and views across and through create a sense of spatial generosity.

The house is simple, modest, light, colourful, playful and private. It balances the desire to connect with its beachside location and the desire to maintain a degree of privacy.

Building on a single level at the top of a dune ridge meant that cut and fill was avoided, creating easy access for all occupants and expansive views.

The Australian beach house is re-imagined and reconfigured via the circular plan. Transparency internally means that views across and through the house allow the parents to keep an eye on the children while allowing a measure of independence.  The two older boys are in the complex position of wanting more privacy as they mature but also needing closer care as their health deteriorates.

The light filled centre creates a strong point of reference as the sight of the boys deteriorates and colour has been used to create reference points internally.

Within the current brick and tile suburban fabric of Yanchep, the Round House is remarkable in its “otherness”. The round form is reminiscent of water towers that dot the coastline and provides a dramatic counterpoint to the squat, squareness of the surrounding suburbia.

Proximity to the ocean and the ridge top location created strong exposure to the sea breezes.  Whilst wanting to take advantage of these for cooling it was also necessary to create sheltered outdoor spaces that could be used at all times of the day.

Early on we sought to constrain the overall footprint of the project to meet the client’s budget.  This along with their aspirations for a relaxed holiday home lead us to search for a building form, a robust material palette and sympathetic planning to deliver a project that exceeded the client’s expectations of the space with ease of ongoing maintenance.

On the north and west elevation shading has been integrated into the walls via deep window reveals. Water is collected from the roof and stored in the large tank beneath the house with a heat pump system for domestic hot water. Recycled decking has been used throughout for its aesthetic and environmental appeal.

There has been minimal intervention to the existing contours of the dune allowing natural vegetation to remain undisturbed. The house footprint is 135sqm, reducing the overall energy consumption in building materials and running costs during occupancy.