Transformation of an existing waterfront holiday villa in Palm Beach, Sydney

Architects: Alexander & Co.
Location: Palm Beach, Australia
Year: 2016
Photo courtesy: Felix Forest
Description:

“Palm Beach House project is the transformation of an existing waterfront holiday villa in Palm Beach, Sydney. The project is a restrained approach to a traditional European vernacular, exploring bespoke quality detailing, materiality and architectural framing.

With the existing house ineffectively dealing with scale limitations, the brief was primarily to explore how we could reintroduce a higher quality of spatial resolution. The plans and volumes were subsequently rationalized around better circulation, view corridors and access to the water.

With an emphasis placed on architectural framing and the suitable transition from interior to exterior. The garden was refined, designed with proportion in mind in order to achieve a sense of privacy as well as maximize use of amenities for the client. The large-scale opening explored opportunity for external living and dining, an integral aspect to the client brief addressing the need for entertaining spaces, essential for a ‘home away from home’.

The house is focused upon the ‘hand made’. Fittings, finishes, lighting and claddings all express an artisan reference point. The paired back interiors, subdued palette and hand made quality creates a ‘lived in’ atmosphere for the client, an important element for them to experience a sense of place and history.

The dwelling, pushed back from the water’s edge, presented challenges, due to this lack of physical connection that was evident in neighbouring properties. The core idea focused on neutralizing the exterior in a way that fits in with the landscape to avoid detracting from the beauty of the surrounding context. A contemporary and minimalist approach for the garden allowed for the view to become the main focus.

Through the exploration, we were successful at creating an open space that spills out onto the outdoor garden allows for this connection between the building and waterfront.

The design of the home as a holiday house meant that the open plan living space and garden were to become the central focus, as entertaining and hosting guests is a regular activity. Subsequent thresholds and vistas between the inside, the balconies/courtyard and the exterior provided the ability to open up out onto the garden area in such a way as to assist the need for flexibility.

Constant interaction and collaborative work with sub contractor and consultants through workshopping of ideas, rather than simple execution, was essential in delivering the best possible design outcome. With the focus on bespoke, well-refined design details, a high level of craftsmanship was required to complement the refined interiors.

For the clients, the budget was entirely revolved around the significant value that resulted from the spatial organisation, planning and decisions. The willingness to invest in order to achieve a level of intricacy and sophistication relied on a strong focus on the design process and outcome. The delivery of the project allowed for new design opportunities and innovative ideas to take place and in order to resolve decisions.”