olson kundig's bilgola beach house can transform with a facade of folding shutters

olson kundig's bilgola beach house can transform with a facade of folding shutters

bilgola beach house: responding to its coastal site


seattle-based studio olson kundig architects takes to the sandy dunes outside sydney to create its bilgola beach house. in celebration of its coastal site — its first in australia — the structure is designed with a facade of operable, louvred shutters that open the interior outward to the ocean and distant horizon beyond. designed for a couple who plan to host large family gatherings, the dwelling suits the needs of the clients with its wide open, transformable living area.


approaching the house, visitors pass through palm trees and norfolk pines, then through the two main volumes of the dwelling, before ultimately arriving at the entrance. with this gradual approach the architects highlight the coastal views with a climactic frame, slowly revealed through the built space.

olson kundig bilgola houseimages © rory gardiner | @arorygardiner



the elevated dwelling by olson kundig


olson kundig architects (see more) further responds to the conditions of the site by elevating its bilgola beach house atop an array of concrete piles. this strategy is suited to combat the high winds and flooding which the headland setting may experience. while the house opens broadly outward to views of the sea, the operable shutters can easily seal the space against such harsh weather events. the design team recognizes the unpredictable range of climatic conditions, and creates a house which can transform accordingly. 

olson kundig bilgola house



the layout of the breezy beach home


postcard ocean views are integrated into the architecture as soon as visitors arrive at the olson kundig-designed bilgola beach house. the sea can be viewed straight through the glass front entrance, which leads directly into a large open kitchen, dining, and living area, surrounded on three sides with full-height glazing. opposite the coast side of this space is a garden courtyard and pool which can be accessed through a set of sliding glass doors, allowing cool breezes to naturally ventilate the home.


this main level further houses a guest wing of four bedrooms, while the upper level hosts a reading room and master bedroom suite. this space itself opens outward with a large private balcony accessed through the bathroom.

olson kundig bilgola house
operable shutters fold up to transform the living area

olson kundig bilgola house
the architects celebrate views of the ocean

olson kundig bilgola housethe sea can be viewed from the entrance through two walls of full-height glazing


a courtyard garden and shallow pool can be accessed through sliding doors

olson kundig's bilgola beach house can transform with a facade of folding shuttersthe master suite along the upper level features a private balcony


the lowest level hosts more social areas for large family gatherings



project info:


project title: bilgola beach house

architecture: olson kundig architects | @olsonkundig

location: sydney, australia

completion: 2018

photography: rory gardiner | @arorygardiner


design principal: tom kundig, FAIA, RIBA
principal: kevin kudo-king, AIA, LEED® AP

project manager and project architect: simon clews

architectural staff: motomi kudo-king, lindsay kunz and martina bendel

interior design: debbie kennedy, LEED® AP ID+C
interior design staff: megan adams, casey hill, maresa patterson


general contractor: bellevarde constructions

landscape architect: CAB consulting

lighting design: niteo lighting
client representative: auric projects
planner: BBF planners
coastal engineer: horton coastal engineering
geotech consultant: JK geotechnics
gizmo design: KB architectural services with phil turner
gizmo fabrication: advanced design innovations, TILT industrial design
civil and structural engineer: partridge engineering
mechanical engineer: RJ air

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