little cove beach house

a contemporary queensland beach house that connects intimately with the surrounding subtropical environment


2013 Australian Institute of Architects Sunshine Coast Award

Our clients brief was for a low maintenance, solid beach house that was warm in winter and cool in summer.  The house sits on a wonderful site in Little Cove that backs onto the Noosa National Park above Laguna Bay and a short walk from the surf beaches.  The principle design concept was to open the house to the surrounding subtropical landscape to provide an intimate relationship between the internal spaces and the external environment.  The challenge was to allow natural light, ventilation and winter sun into the building without compromising the privacy of the owners.  The size and location of openings was carefully considered to allows views and light penetration on one hand and screening views to the neighbouring houses on the other.  The owners wanted a robust house that mediated the climate while also requiring minimal effort to maintain.  Concrete was selected as the primary building material as it requires little upkeep and has wonderful thermal and acoustic properties.  Concrete keeps the house cool in summer and the interiors warm in winter.  The exterior natural grey concrete compliments the surrounding subtropical rainforest and allows the house to blend in with the landscape. Internally, timber and plaster has been used to soften the spaces and give them a feeling of warmth.  The scale and proportions of the building were also critical to the design philosophy.  Great attention was paid to achieving a balanced composition and a harmonious spatial arrangement both internally and externally.  This was reinforced by the limited palette of materials, employed to heighten the spatial experience of the house and allow an uninhibited contemplation of the natural surroundings.  The site had been cleared for the house construction.  We saw the new landscape around the house as integral to the overall house design.  We collaborated with Steve Clegg a landscape expert to design new subtropical gardens around the house that would compliment the national park vegetation that the house backed onto.  The solution was lush subtropical gardens that require little ongoing attention.

photography: emma bourne & jared fowler