Project Details

Program: Detached House

Status: Built

Design Team: John Mainwaring, Ralph Wheeler


RAIA QLD Chapter 2001, Sunshine Coast Regional Commendation

RAIA QLD Chapter 2001, Sunshine Coast Region House of the Year  

RAIA QLD Chapter 2001, Residential Building New House Award



Situated at Sunshine Beach on a long thin site, this large residence is located between a medium density unit conurbation on one side and the ocean on the other. This visually unobtrusive residence is both inconspicuous & discrete from the road & acts as a medium between ocean & lake (swimming pool). Borrowing tectonics from nature, this building was designed with inspiration from the neighboring headland, the dramatic crevice voids between rock-wall faces, and the lightness of driftwood washed up on the shoreline. There are caves for shelter, which feel as though they have been hewn from solid rock, giving protection from the harsh ocean front elements. In contrast, there are lightweight translucent structures that nestle between the heaviness like lanterns. The architectural philosophy incorporates Pacific Rim Asian concepts (heaviness/lightness, darkness/luminosity, mass/void, rigid strength/flexibility, inverted spatial configuration) infused with aspects of the contemporary Queensland verandah and pavilion house.Within the spatial configuration and off-form concrete collage, is subtle overlaying of the Australian vernacular beach shack. The atrium space within the ‘U’ shaped plan creates a vertical crevice, forming a space which links street/pool courtyard with the ocean and the beach. The crevice introduces natural light, winter sun, perfume from frangapanni trees, and northern aspect for all ancillary rooms.A long pedestrian ramp connects the street entry to an elevated courtyard/”out-door room” providing living spaces on the uppermost level with improved aspect to view vistas. The ‘light-weight’, or lantern segments of the house consist of timber, oversized weather-boards, mesh and translucent sheeting. These areas, infused with natural light, incorporate the ‘driftwood’ metaphor. Inclined structural timber columns, supporting the upper-southern cantilever, seen from the lower level, evoke the experience of being under a timber jetty. The resulting caves, crevices and lanterns produce a special flow, both longitudinally and vertically, offering occupants a variety of experiences as they move through the building. Stone floors have the feeling of wet sand under bare feet, surprise vistas & view windows increase the space/time experience of moving through the building. A sensitive, relative palette of materials provides textural, ideological and visual connectivity to the larger site. This is the second house designed for this client by JMA.