Overlooking an idyllic pasture and the coast of Werri Beach in New South Wales is a 5,231-square-foot property that celebrates the beauty of its location.
Designed by Australian architecture firm Atelier Andy Carson, the Headland House features three pavilions which provide 180-degree views of the ocean and the farmland sanctuary around it.
But unlike most homes that have the same view throughout the structure, each of the residence’s four bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms have varying framed glimpses of the hilltop location.
Just imagine, you’re in one room and you see a sweeping view of the beach, then you move into another room, and you get to see cows grazing along a grassy field.
“What I love most about the house is its dynamic nature. Moving through the building there are constant little surprises, interesting angles, new views and points of interest in the landscape,” architect Andy Carson told Lost At E Minor.
“The landscape itself is in constant change with waves, tides, whales, dolphins and passing ships that all can’t help but catch your eye and re-assert themselves. The 100+ dairy cows move across the fields adding their own rhythm.
“Also, when viewing the house from outside the character and shape of the building also constantly shifts adding a sense of drama and mystery.”
Other interesting parts of the home include a protected courtyard, a storm-viewing room, two verandas, and a two-bedroom guest house.
We were lucky enough to have a chat with Andy Carson recently to know more about the Headland House. Take a look:
Please tell us more about Atelier Andy Carson. How would you describe your work?
“Atelier Andy Carson is an internationally published office for design established in 2015. We like to design from first principles and give precedence to user experience, longevity and beautifully resolved details. The practice has a focus on exploring the art of living, building and materials.
“Our projects often fuse with bespoke product design with each being used as a laboratory for developing specific furniture and lighting pieces. We enjoy strong working relationships with our clients and love to draw out their unique qualities and enhance their sense of place and wellbeing.
“We are currently seeking international projects.”
What was the project brief?
“The clients provided a detailed program of accommodation to be met, this was further developed, and their inter-relationships explored. The clients are heavily involved in the design and art scene, and have built many times before, so they had a good knowledge of how they lived and what the house had to achieve.
“Besides the number and type of rooms, the house had to provide safety and containment for their young children and dogs and heighten the sense of connection to the landscape… So we knew it had to be something pretty special.”
Take us through your creative process. How did you satisfy the client’s vision for their home?
“The prominent exposed site required a response that dealt with the problems and opportunities of the site first and foremost. How best to respond to the dramatic south facing hill devoid of trees, fully exposed to weather events from the nearby ocean? And how to deal with the overwhelming 180-degree views? With the strong ocean, beach and lagoon views – how to not ignore the rest of the 150-acre property?
“The primary intervention was to create a protected courtyard house, forming an open ‘U’ shape to the northern sun. This provides refuge from the bitter southern winds and storm fronts. Large retractable sliding doors allow fine tuning dependent on weather conditions.
“The pavilions are heavily articulated morphing and twisting toward view, sun, and protective opportunities. With such vast views the idea was to create very specific alignments to create powerful and memorable images in the mind of the occupants. Often when a building has wall to wall glass and only faces one direction it can become tiresome and leaves the observer feeling disconnected.
“Much time was spent carefully aligning every window to very specific framed views and their precise composition. We took compass headings, aligned satellite images with detailed surveys to ensure the various points of interest where captured.
“The extreme ends of the two main pavilions focus like telescopes on the ocean and the farmlands respectively, while the bedrooms offer built in window seats and other personal little moments. The detailing is painstakingly minimal to give a calming uncluttered feeling.”
In terms of sustainability, how sustainable is the beach house?
“Sustainability measures incorporated into the design are, passive solar design, extra thick highly insulated walls and double glazing with thermally broken window frames.
“The house also includes a 140,000-litre rain water tank buried into the hill that collects water from the roof, this has UV filtration and treatment for drinking. All sewage is treated on site and the house is powered by supplementary solar power.
“All materials used are very durable and long lasting in this harsh environment and are selected to patina and look great with age.”
What would you say is your favourite part of the house? Or what did you love most about the project?
“What I love most about the house is its dynamic nature. Moving through the building there are constant little surprises, interesting angles, new views and points of interest in the landscape. The landscape itself is in constant change with waves, tides, whales, dolphins and passing ships that all can’t help but catch your eye and re-assert themselves. The 100+ dairy cows move across the fields adding their own rhythm.
“Also, when viewing the house from outside the character and shape of the building also constantly shifts adding a sense of drama and mystery.
“One of the most rewarding parts of the project was constantly refining the construction details throughout the 12 month build time. We were never satisfied to sit back and just build the original scheme but wanted to constantly challenge the little details and refined the minimalist approach to the build. After all, we were building a house for a couple with two young children and their dogs, so it was incredibly satisfying to see them fill the house, feel comfortable and be able to flourish.
“As the site had no previous house, the project allowed our clients to not only have their own sanctuary, but also as a base to explore and enjoy their large piece of land.”