Oystercatcher House / MCK Architecture & Interiors
Text description provided by the architects. For some years a Sydney-based family had enjoyed their holidays in a tiny pre-fabricated house on the beachfront lot but had finally outgrown it. They wanted to improve the accommodation and take better advantage of the opportunities of the location and aspect while retaining a relaxed, simple pattern of inhabiting the site.
The design response was to retain the open, exposed, and windswept nature of the site, and to allow the envelope of the house to provide privacy, security, and protection from the elements, literally the house as a fence. The desire for a modest and unassuming presentation to the street drove the idea of the house as an object which had weathered in place in the dunes. The slanted roof form clad in pre-weathered spotted gum references the windswept, pared-down vegetation of the foredune, and retains sunlight to a neighboring property.
The volume of the house was punctured with courtyards, and the boundary conditions were carefully handled to provide a variety of spaces and atmospheres to suit the constantly changing conditions. Large openable timber screens allow simple modulation of light and shade, privacy, and access.
The mass has been pushed away from the humble local streetscape towards the rear of the site where the connection to the waterfront immediately acts as a magnet to all visitors. In this respect, an ocean sight-line has been established from the front door, and through the primary circulation hall shaped as a shotgun corridor running east-west.
The planning arrangement allows reduced usage of the home by compartmentalizing the additional bedroom wing, such that the home is as comfortable for 2 as it is for a group of 10. Much like the local Oystercatcher population, this family also chooses to nest in the white sanded dunes of Jervis Bay.