Our brief for the Pittwater house was to create a beach house for a retired couple that was large enough for their extended family of children and grandchildren to visit and stay. The site is located on the thin, flat strip of land that runs between the ridgeline escarpment and Pittwater, creating a dual public face – a public street frontage and a public beach frontage.
Conscious that contemporary multi-generational beach houses often appear very bloated next to the small footprint weekenders of the past, our strategy was to divide the footprint of the house into two identical pavilions addressing either the street or the beach, connected by a north facing double height indoor/outdoor room that housed the kitchen and dining room. This manipulation of the building form halved the perceptible size of the house as viewed from the public realm of the street or the beach.
In response to the request for privacy, particularly on the beach front façade, we developed a thickened threshold characterized by an operable façade borrowing the functional technology of the many boats adjacent the house. Using a rope and pulley system on stainless steel outriggers driven by linear actuators, the façade can be opened and closed to provide infinite combinations of shade, exposure and privacy in relation to the western orientation and views over Pittwater.
This article originally appeared in aba-architects.com.au