House Design | Coastal facade flexes its design muscles

CHARACTER AND COASTAL CHARM: The three-storey pair of beach houses achieve a balance of connection to the environment, while maintaining privacy within the built-up suburban surroundings of Mermaid Beach. Pictures: Andy MacPherson.
CHARACTER AND COASTAL CHARM: The three-storey pair of beach houses achieve a balance of connection to the environment, while maintaining privacy within the built-up suburban surroundings of Mermaid Beach. Pictures: Andy MacPherson.

With a multi-functional facade featuring wooden vertical fins, No. 8 Albatross Avenue joins a string of developments along a Gold Coast avenue characterised by rows of duplexes flexing their muscles for attention.

Architects, Chris Knapp and Rory Spence, directors at Studio Workshop, said the project was all about creating a facade in the context of its coastal Mermaid Beach surrounds.

The three-storey four-bedroom, 3.5 bathroom, pair of beach houses with separate living, kitchen and entertaining areas over four levels, enjoy an east-facing aspect toward the Pacific Ocean, situated along a narrow, busy thoroughfare.

"The vertical fins are deployed to serve multiple functions including sun-shading, privacy, curation of views, and to modulate the scale of the overall form," Knapp said.

"As Albatross Avenue is characterised by continual blocks of duplex developments each flexing their muscles for attention, the facade at 8 Albatross, while confidently articulate, counters the cacophony of building styles along the street by attempting to create a sense of restraint and to offer the appearance of a singular, coherent building form," Knapp said.

Additionally, the design attempts to capture a connection between inside and outside via the facade, private outdoor spaces and roof garden to make the most of the appealing subtropical climate conditions of south-east Queensland.

"The Pacific Ocean is the principal cognitive attractor on the site, and therefore the project puts particular emphasis on these views," Knapp said.

"On a very tight building allotment, the project attempts to maximize and balance the living area in relation to orientation and user experience."

Spatially, the homes are generous in their dimensions to achieve a balance of connection to the environment, while maintaining privacy within the suburban surroundings of closely-spaced neighbours. Giving its residents a combination of prospect and refuge in relation to the ocean and street, respectively.

"There is a disciplined exuberance afforded to occupants that is experienced through the promenade from approach, to entry, to arrival, with accentuation through views taken via the mediating veil and occupation of the roof garden," Knapp said.

"The project attempts to add character to the avenue by offering a singular and coherent building form to a street context which celebrates modern charm.

"The veiled facade provides a restrained mask through which to read the building, and through this activates a kind of aesthetic engagement not found elsewhere in the immediate context.

"The overall height is sympathetic and consistent with neighbouring buildings, and subtle articulations break down the scale to provide a humanistic dialogue with occupants and passers-by," Knapp said.

  • With architecture resource BowerBird