COOKS BEACH HOUSE / Coromandel

COOKS BEACH HOUSE
 
Coromandel
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In 1769 Captain Cook observed the transit of Mercury at Cooks Beach, just below the site of this project. In homage to Cook, the shape and form of this house was mapped out to the layout of the stars as he would have observed them in the night sky. Conceptually the random nature of this sky generated the forms of the project, as well as interior layouts, sheltered courtyards, lighting, and materiality.

The plan generated allows the building to facet around the ridge, orientating towards views, and turning its back on the prevailing southerly wind. It also allows for partly sheltered courtyards and a variety of internal and exterior spaces which can be inhabited for differing wind directions by opening and closing doors and windows.

Materiality is tough and textured in deference to the exposed semi-rural nature of the site and the pioneering spirit which defines this land and its occupants. A precast concrete wall weaves along the ridge line to form the southern entry wall, presenting a protective fortification against wind and weather, and acting as a screen to the startling views which are revealed on entry. Tall slim windows with deep reveals penetrate this wall, mimicking the slots in ancient battlements and accentuating the notion of fortification and strength. These windows are placed with apparently random widths and separations, introducing random shafts of light into the south courtyard, and reinforcing the cartographic nature of Cook’s astronomical observations.

Interior walls are finished in ply, with exposed concrete bench tops, sinks, and internal feature walls. Exterior terraces are concrete, and exterior walls in dark-stained band-sawn ply with deep overhangs and light-coloured timber soffits, reflecting anodised aluminium joinery. Full height windows intersect the continuous planes of the ceiling and soffits, and down-lights are scattered across the surface of the ceiling. Interior fittings such as the kitchen island, shower and storage spaces reinforce the cartographic nature of the lines in the building – defined by site and natural orientation rather than by the human desire to impose foreign order on a naturally disordered universe.