Whale Beach House by Neeson Murcutt Architects-Sidney

Whale Beach House is a multi-generational family weekender organized over three levels that terrace with the slope – children and grandparents on the lower level, main living areas on the mid level and parents ‘secret’ timber cabin on top. Designed by Neeson Murcutt Architects, the native landscape is metaphorically drawn through this void connecting with neighbouring gardens across front. Careful collaboration between the landscape architect, hydraulic engineer, ecologist and builder allowed the waterway on the north-east side of the building to be restored, resisting to council’s attempts to create a storm water easement and instead enriching the landscape setting. The house and landscape are integral. Outdoor living spaces correspond with each level of the house and are equally varied. The project demonstrates a holistic approach to sustainability – solar orientation, natural light, ventilation, efficient internal heating, materials choices, water collection, locally indigenous plantings and compact pool. The steeply sloping site was expensive to build on and the storm water issues costly to resolve.

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