Northcott Residence - Imagine Architecture | ArchiPro

Northcott Residence

The brief from the client was for a modernist style house which would embrace their 1960’s eclecticism, harness the panoramic ocean views and be an enduring design for a special location. In designing this house the form and proportions were inspired from the designer’s research into the work of Marcel Breuer and the Bauhaus movement. This is especially evident in the southern street approach with the timber siding, floating box forms and cubist layering.

The 3 bedroom, 2 living room home also needed to accommodate three cars, a boat, kayaks and numerous surfboards. The solution was provided with a generous double garage and a 2 bay carport which has been carefully positioned as a portal to frame the coast and surf beyond.

The plan solution was to split the house over two levels connected via a central stair lobby and a lift. The upper level contained main living spaces, master suite and library. The lower level containing a further two bedrooms and living room. With adult children the idea is that the owners could live upstairs in their 1 bedroom “apartment” with the flexibility to use the lower level for family and visitors as required. Positioning main living on the upper level enabled the coastal views to be fully embraced and it was elevated to ensure the beach was visible over the sand dunes. All bedrooms and living spaces were oriented to the north for both sun and views. The utility, bathroom and storage spaces are all positioned to the south.

The ocean façade features extruded wall and soffit profiles. Their practical application supports the low-tech, passive solar design approach of harnessing and managing the sun’s energy through abundant north facing glazing and storing it in the thermal mass of masonry walls and insulated concrete floor slabs. To cool the house a thin plan allows excellent cross-flow ventilation enhanced by the stack effect of the entrance atrium. Spacing of the cedar slats to the north were calculated to block the high angle summer sun and let in the low angle winter sun.
Supplementary heating is by a log fire for the upper level and a hydronic water in-slab floor heating system to the lower.

The entry foyer provides a dramatic central connecting axis to the house. 1960’s influences include the steel balustrading fixed to cantilevered stair treads and a “very hard to source” stunning green, 100% wool carpet providing the background to the period furniture, fixtures and fittings. The carpet colour was then taken outside through the custom tinted painted plaster walls.

Sustainable Tasmanian Oak is used throughout the house. All joinery including the kitchen, library and wardrobes were designed as part of the commission with the motif to the front of the kitchen repeated on the beach access gate. At 3.4m the upper level ceiling creates a dramatic canopy which extends out over the large purple heart timber deck. A full photometric study was done to ensure artificial light levels via LED, halogen and compact fluorescent fixtures would be fit for purpose.

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