flexible timber screens allow sunrise house by mck to open up or shut down completely

flexible timber screens allow sunrise house by mck to open up or shut down completely

sitting within the dunes of the south coast of NSW, australia, sunrise house embraces the horizon of the pacific ocean. a robust yet finely articulated home arranged as a collection of positive and negative spaces opens up completely to its immediate landscape or shuts down as the coastal weather turns. a simple planning arrangement provides a large home with an efficient program, and light and ventilation apertures follow the linear functionality of the home. designed by mck architects, the house is as comfortable for a large extended family gathering as it is for a family of four, and provides its inhabitants with as many shared moments as it does private ones. privacy is effected by turning the home’s back on the street and focusing its attention on the east where it invites each daily sunrise into its interiors.

the northern end of the home opens itself to the private external areas, and visually borrows a secret parcel of council land



the site runs parallel to a popular coastal road, and the building form sits between this road and the beach. early investigations proved that ocean views would be obtained from a first floor, hence a decision was made to locate the bedrooms on the ground plane, and living zones above. the linear interior opens to the horizon whilst providing privacy from the street, engaging all spaces with the sunrise. a lighter steel frame sits over a solid concrete plinth and spaces grow from inside to out, as do the materials that define those spaces.

in their closed position, the bedroom screens permit the rooms to be ventilated by ocean breezes, yet remain secure with a stainless mesh detailed behind the battens



with its long edge running parallel to the public domain, privacy was a key issue for mck on both levels of the site. bedrooms are positioned on the ocean side whilst the street façade is clad with solid recycled timbers that deliberately open up where light and ventilation are required. a generous, lush garden along the street highlights the architecture within its dense foliage, and both garden and building are embraced by the public.

the eastern elevation again displays the linear nature of the building and also shows the ability to conceal the bedrooms via timber screens running the full length of the home



the arrangement of spaces is simple, with focus on the amenity of space and connection to both the horizon and the landscape. privacy is defined by form and used to create positive and negative space to define the function and to embrace the natural light. bedrooms have several modes of privacy, whereas the first-floor living spaces obtain the horizon view and seamlessly become part of the exterior.

the cabana also embraces sunshine all day long, with the pool positioned directly to the east and a small yard, fire-pit and pizza oven to the west




essentially a beach house, sunrise house offers a relaxed sense of place. a ground floor cabana seamlessly opens up to the garden and pool, and the surrounding decking material runs through these spaces before continuing through the main hall and interior. the outcome is a sequence of movement into the home that is less precious if one has sand on their feet, and continues the exploration into the seamless connection between interior and exterior.

the decking that surrounds the pool, continues as the floor of the cabana, and flows into the interior spaces, with the notion that one should be less precious about wet or sandy feet at a beach house



this same theme continues on the living level where the entire living space opens up via perpendicular sequences of floor-to-ceiling glazed doors. the living zone becomes a deck hovering over the landscape, from which one gazes across the ocean to the horizon.

this black timber box has limited fenestration towards the afternoon sun



sunrise house approaches good sustainable design through passive design strategy, general environmental inclusions and a focus on the quality of build. the building forms are positioned in a way that natural light is embraced where desired, and controlled where protection is required. the oceans breeze is embraced as a natural form of cooling in summer and ventilation generally. rainwater harvesting measures are integrated into a basement, and a solar array has been positioned onto the at roof structure that gets direct light all day long.

the linear nature of the building ensures all spaces engage with the horizon and therefore their subsequent connection to the sunrise, becomes inherent to the finished home



high-quality glazing systems have been used throughout, and the construction is robust and designed to survive, with off-form concrete embraced for its durability. recycled australian hardwoods screen the home from the elements and are used extensively throughout.

the main bedroom spine is flanked by an internal garden which pulls the massing apart and permits natural light to enter the circulation path



the house is the result of a genuine collaboration between multiple disciplines: a private client with a vision, a team of driven builders, a creative engineer, an enthusiastic landscape designer, and the architects. in this respect the outcome is as rewarding for us is it is for all who were involved, especially the homeowners who, within our process, play a pivotal role. the owners also challenged the team to enterprise unconventional solutions in specified areas, especially regarding the structure.

upon entry, a crucifix-shaped circulation path cuts through the ground floor providing access through to the beach, inside to the main bedroom spine or flowing out to the pool and cabana


the cabana opens up completely and visually connects to the council land to the north


from the street, the architecture and landscape merge together


the entry is buried within the landscape and a large timber gate acts as a continuation of the kinetic street side cladding that opens to permit light and ventilation where required


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: maria erman | designboom

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