Live by the beach in a “upside down” house: living areas upstairs and bedroom downstairs

Live by the beach in a “upside down” house: living areas upstairs and bedroom downstairs

Architects: Rolf Ockert Architect
Location: North Curl Curl, Australia
Year: 2018
Area: 3.660 ft²/ 340 m²
Photo courtesy: Luke Butterly and Rolf Ockert

“The clients fulfilled their dream to live by the beach when they bought one half of a new subdivision of a double size block on a quiet street with great views across the road to the lagoon and beach of North Curl Curl.

The house was designed “upside down”, with the living areas upstairs and the bedroom downstairs as the best views are naturally from the higher level.

The living area is open plan across the entire footprint of the house, creating not only view and natural breeze across that level but also an enormous feel of generosity, unexpected on the rather small block.

Council regulations asked for a steep angled setback from a rather moderate height on, aiming to encourage pitched roof forms. We employed that rule differently, designing instead a two-layered roof within the given envelope, gaining light and 360 degree sky views as well as natural breeze and a ceiling height that adds to the feeling of generosity.

The layout is all about the view, concentrating the sitting area and dining table at the very eastern front, together with the font terrace closest to the panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean. The kitchen sits in the centre, well positioned for the traditional hub of family life. To the East is a large deck and BBQ area, for dining on those days of uncomfortably strong ocean winds, as well as a study area for kids and parents, aiming to maximise the activities in the common area.

Downstairs the Master Bedrooom sits in the front, getting those wake-up views to die for, as does the Ensuite Bathroom. Two bedroom for the kids, yet to earn the top spot. To the rear a rumpus room opens up to the garden and pool, the latter extending deep under the house in order get a decent lap’s swim. The interweaving of pool and house ensures that the water is apparent from most areas of the house, and that the reflections of the water in the pool throw a playful pattern of light on the ceilings at certain times of day.

An underground Garage takes two cars without interference with the priced views and accommodates laundry and storage areas..

The house is constructed of brick walls on the lower level to provide the comfort of high thermal mass and steel upstairs to enhance the lightness, airiness and generosity that signify this level.

Priority was given to natural lighting and ventilation over artificial wherever possible in order to promote a responsible use of energy. Other environmental measures include rainwater harvest, solar photovoltaic panels and a focus on low energy, recyclable and low emission materials throughout.”

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