No smoke and mirrors here, just a stunning feat of architecture.
In the idyllic coastal neighbourhood of North Avoca in New South Wales, there’s a 650-square-foot studio that hovers over a drop-off and overlooks the Pacific Ocean.
Called the North Avoca Studio, the structure was designed by architect Matt Thitchener, and serves as an extension of the owners’ residence.
“My clients had recently relocated their family from Sydney, and their brief was fairly simple – They are both self-employed, work from home, and needed a multi-function space that would comfortably work as a home office, entertaining space, meditation, and relaxation space,” Thitchener told Lost At E Minor. “It had to be detached from the main house and feel separate to it.”
To fulfill the client’s vision of their home, Thitchener had to overcome a few challenges – mainly the terrain. His solution? A series of 20-foot concrete-reinforced stilts that not only support the studio but also give it the illusion of floating.
“Site constraints guided the design and ultimately led to the final studio structure and form.
“The ocean views were only available if we set the floor of the studio above the main house – consideration of both the rear neighbours existing views and providing as much solar access to the existing house as possible meant that the roof had to be low set.
“Geotechnical constraints required 6.0m deep concrete piers that had to be hand excavated – so it was important to ensure that there was a minimum of excavation, which led to the use of the piloti.
“As the studio was set high on the site, and accessed via an external staircase that took the occupants close to the undercroft, the supporting structure was always going to be an important architectural feature.
“The piloti not only allow for a reduction in hand excavated footings, they also provide cross bracing, and a slenderness and simplicity of form not available with traditionally braced post and beam construction.
“The simplicity of the supporting structure gives the black-clad form a sense of weightlessness, hovering over the site, as it reaches out towards the ocean.”
The structure is also completely powered by solar panels on its roof, while rainwater is harvested for watering the garden around and below it.
As for the interior, Thitchener chose to make it contemporary, open, and simple.
“Internal detailing has also been kept as simple as possible to ensure the focus is on the view. White floor to ceiling curtains wrap around the space on three sides and are backlit to provide total privacy both day and night, giving the space a cloud-like feeling.
“I have always been inspired by contemporary modernist and minimalist architecture and have a background in structural engineering, this combination definitely informs and shapes both my design aesthetic and methodology.”
If you’d like to learn more about Matt Thitchener and his work, you can check out his website.