Built to blend into Byron Bay

Paul said the owners are especially happy with the rich internal palette. Images: andymacphersonstudio.com
Paul said the owners are especially happy with the rich internal palette. Images: andymacphersonstudio.com

Designing a house on a north-facing block with views over Byron Bay sounds like the stuff of dreams, but Architect Paul Uhlmann still had to come up with creative solutions to meet every element of the client's brief.

"The owners wanted to create a home that worked for their small children, while taking advantage of the views to the bay, ocean and light house," Paul said.

"There was also a requirement to link the rear yard up with the main living zones which are elevated to take advantage of the views."

Paul's response was to use a circulation spine with stairs as a direct link through the house to the landscaped yard below.

All main living spaces were arranged along this spine, which cascades down the slope of the site, with the same earthy, natural materials used both internally and externally.

A circulation spine with stairs links the house with the landscaped yard below.

A circulation spine with stairs links the house with the landscaped yard below.

"The spine links the arrival of the kitchen, living, outdoor terrace, pool and lawn/play space for the clients children below," Paul said.

"The family room incorporates in to the large negative-space outdoor terrace. This was to seamlessly blend the threshold between indoors and out, and be predominately left open to make the most of the year-long enjoyable climate.

"A centralised kitchen allows for view to the recreational areas, while the sunken lounge nestles in to the existing landscape with views to the beach beyond."

One issue with the living areas was that the views were to the north west, which had the potential to create issues with afternoon glare and heat load to the main living spaces. In response, Paul designed a large canopy roof to soar over this space to provide weather protection.

A large canopy roof to soar over the living areas to provide weather protection.

A large canopy roof to soar over the living areas to provide weather protection.

There is a lap pool located off to the north, adjacent to the main terrace, and a library hub was located above the pool terrace as a central study zone for the children.

"This generous family home intended to encapsulate what it means to live in Byron Bay. The open 'relaxed' residence is site responsive and out-ward looking yet sheltered and warm," Paul said.

Australian local materials were used both internally, externally and within the landscape to compliment the nature reserve adjacent and views.

"The stone and timber used throughout the build are materials from the local region, grey ironbark timber and a local basalt wall cladding. These will help blend the building into the landscape once it has matured," Paul said.

The louvred boxes privacy, security and ventilation

The louvred boxes privacy, security and ventilation

Viewed from the street, two louvred boxes on either side of the central spine are a striking element. These boxes were used to frame views to the lighthouse and beach beyond with linear dark cladding for a recessive exterior. They are mechanical, so can be adjusted for privacy, security and ventilation.

Sustainability features of the build include attention to cross flow ventilation, shaded openings, effective insulation, and there is a large water tank beneath the driveway.

  • with BowerBird