residence at Coledale NSW

new family beach house


The site captures all the beauty of the northern Illawarra region, where the residential land is locked between the dominant presence of the escarpment and the infinity of the ocean. At the foot of the escarpment, the site, less than 500m from the surf, had an existing cottage and garage/studio (both assessed to be demolished) in the levelled area close to the street front. The “back yard area” has a beautiful luscious rainforest gully that comes down from the escarpment with a creek and steep embankments.

From my first visit, I was moved by the beauty of the site, and spend time soaking the atmosphere, and listening. The topography is very complex: an east/west slope, as well as a northern slope created by the embankment of the rainforest creek. The geotechnical report, Council requirements, bush fire report created a very tight building zone, where the house sits today.


My clients provided a detailed brief as well as images that illustrated the feel they wanted to create for their new house.

The main requirements that guided the design process were:

design process to project:

The innovative and unique design responds successfully to the brief and the challenges, and was also inspired by the very special relationship developed with my clients through shared values, consultations, and conversations about family, living, community, and environment.

The house adopts the slope of the site, and steps up and down in a system of split levels that allow the building to respond to the streetscape scale and context, but with a contemporary identity. The split level design also responds to the geotechnical specifications for two separated structures for the building to allow for land movement, and is reflected in the selection of materials. The movement of the skillion roofs, opening to light, to views, to the sun path, evoke the wings of birds, and suggest layers. Layers are expressed by the deep eaves, the awning and sun screens; letting the winter sun in and protecting from the summer sun, the house is warm in winter and requires minimum gas heating. The rhythm of opening in the windows; ceiling level and floor level create natural cross-ventilation; and the use of ceiling fans help keep the house cool in summer. The western facade acts as an anchor; it is a shelter from the westerly winds and scorching summer afternoons; it is a visual frontier to protect privacy within the house.

From that point the living functions in the house deploy, open, revealing themselves slowly:

clients testimonials:
“Thank you, we love our house. The views, the angles, the space and the feel are perfect.”
“It has been a year since we moved into our beautiful home. Thank you for making it a wonderful place to live!”


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