Sculpted steel roof and other passive strategies give this home control over the sun’s rays

This contemporary seaside home makes the very most of the beauty of our planet and also gives back via a sustainable design ethos

The design of this coastal home responds to several imperatives – from making the most of the views to efficient control over our nearest star.

Located on a tiny, steep hillside section, the family home – by architect Wulf Borrmeister – is designed to connect the openness of the beach with the forested, steeply sloping hills behind.

“The brief was for a relaxed, playful home that’s open to the sun, while capturing the views to the beach and to the uphill park behind,” says Borrmeister. 

“At the same time, it had to provide shelter from the prevailing winds and include easy driveway access and parking.

“And sustainability principles also inform the design at every turn.”

In order to tackle the extremely difficult site, the house was designed around a strict 1.2m grid. 

This resulted in a very simple rectangular footprint, stretching over three levels.

​​​​​​​Together with the external cedar sliding panels, automatically brown, black
​​​​​​​Together with the external cedar sliding panels, automatically operated external louvres also bring precision control over the sun’s rays in this coastal home.

The stone-faced basement walls – utilising rock excavated from the site – seem to grow directly out of the rock face, anchoring the large home both engineering-wise and visually.

However, the upper floors are designed to be light, sun-filled and open, consisting mainly of glass facades behind cedar sliding screens. 

The screens provide passive sun control – admitting the low-slanting winter sun and shading out the higher summer sun – as well as facilitating natural cross ventilation, and also privacy.

The home is crowned with a light, sail-like roof that appears to float on tree-like timber and steel support structures. As with the screens, the roof provides control over the sun’s rays.

​​​​​​​An efficient, ultra-low emission wood burner provides heating gray, brown
​​​​​​​An efficient, ultra-low emission wood burner provides heating for the open-plan living, dining and kitchen space on the top level of this home. Generous decks stretch out to the pool and seating area at the rear, and towards the sea views at front. Glass wall sliders allow for the ultimate in easy indoor-to-outdoor flow.

“Curving up at one corner, the roof is designed to follow the home’s daily sun path,” says the architect. 

“This allows for solar penetration into the interior in the morning but keeps the sun at bay during the warmer afternoon hours.”

In addition, the hard-working sculptural steel roof supports photovoltaic technology, helping to power the home.

In terms of layout, the home’s top level has an open-plan kitchen, dining and lounge area, a snug, small study and a toilet. 

This naturally gives the public spaces the prime outlooks. The entertainer’s  kitchen, with American White Oak cabinetry, was designed by Ingrid Geldof Design

​​​​​​​Open sesame – a rear glass wall panel teal, black
​​​​​​​Open sesame – a rear glass wall panel slides open to let this home’s open-plan living spaces connect with the rear deck, the pool, a seating area and the veggie garden. All windows and glass doors are double-glazed in the exposed yet cosy home.

At mid level are the three bedrooms, dressing rooms, bathrooms, a laundry and sauna. A double garage with storage is at basement level.

“Large timber decks connect the home with a rear pool, an outdoor shower, a veggie garden,  an open seating area and the hillside behind.”

And an emphasis on low-upkeep materials adds to the overall sustainability of the home. Exterior materials include plaster, corrugated ColorSteel and the aforementioned excavated stone. The rugged materials are matched with a simple interior material palette of wood floors, light and dark-painted walls and wallpaper.

Further features include the compact and economical footprint, rainwater retention tanks for garden irrigation, fully automated external louvres and an ultra-low emission log burner.

Credit list

Architect and interior designer
Wulf Borrmeister and Jaimee Leach, Borrmeister Architects
Kitchen design
Ingrid Geldof Design
Landscape design
Borrmeister Architects and Robert Watson Landscape Architects
CSR Hebel 50mm Powerpanel lightweight concrete panel, render finish; stone veneer from the site’s excavated rock; Dimond Corrugate Vertical Profile Metal
Window/door joinery
Vantage, from Monarch Aluminium Joinery, from APL Architectural and APL Metro Series Thermal Heart double glazing
Kitchen and guest toilet pod
Laminam large-format Italian porcelain sheet, by Laminex
Red Dwarf central Heating System, RAIS Bionic ultra-low emission wood fire, by EnviroSolve
Euroglass channel balustrade system with Viridian frameless glass
Back-painted low iron glass
Neff steam oven
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) New Homes – Winner
Avenue Homes
Kitchen manufacturer
Advanced Joinery
Pool design
Endless Pools
Solar-Rib ColorSteel by Calder Stewart
Main flooring
American white oak T&G Overlay Flooring
Custom made cedar exterior sliding screens, by Insol; Solaris 110 motorised louvre pergola roof
Kitchen cabinetry
Prime Panels natural American ¼ white oak veneer; Prime Nordic ash back panel
Artisan Stone island
Colbalt double bowl, by Ikon
Bora, induction
Refrigerator, dishwasher
Miele, integrated

Story by: Charles Moxham

Photography by: Sarah Rowlands

12 Apr, 2020

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