The Quintessential Australian Beach House - Hart House by Casey Brown Architecture
Great Mackerel Beach, NSW, Australia
Echoing the quintessential one-room Australian beach house typology, Casey Brown’s Hart House sees a near self-sustaining box-type architecture open to the elements, optimising its geographical location to the waterfront.
Situated along the Great Mackerel Beach, north of Sydney, Hart House sits modestly and lightly along the coastal nature strip it inhabits. Accessible by boat only, the premise and underlining inspiration for each design and logistical decision throughout the building process, was hinged on an acute undertaking of a responsibility to the nature it burrows itself amongst. All efforts were made to make as little impact to the earth as possible.
Situated along the Great Mackerel Beach, north of Sydney, Hart House sits modestly and lightly along the coastal nature strip it inhabits.
Hart House was concieved from the ideals of the typical Australian beach shack, notably and nostalgically a one-bedroom shack-type structure. Although not one actual room, the ideals of informality, access and connection across all spaces and functionality within the home, are based on this core pricinciple. Each of the internal spaces is grounded on the principles of efficiency, with an approach that parallels a sense of the ‘no-fuss’ nature of a costal home. The chanelling of the views to the waterfront further reinforces the want to celebrate its location, disconnection and remoteness.
All efforts were made to make as little impact to the earth as possible.
Inspired by the primal and primary shape of the ‘box’, the footprint is essentially a square. Said ‘square’ is then extruded vertically, to allow for additional levels, and with each level, an increased feeling of floating above the water to which it sits adjacent. Sitting atop a foundation of sandstone (originally from the site itself), externally the house is clad in corrugated iron, chosen for its durability and its light-weight qualities. The entire structure echoes similar values, being as light-weight as possible, and designed from a desire to have minimal impact. Internally, the palette is as uncomplicated as the exterior, with a controlled combination of timber joinery and flooring, plasterboard ceiling and exposed structural elements.
Hart House was concieved from the ideals of the typical Australian beach shack, notably and nostalgically a one-bedroom shack-type structure.
Being disconnected is at the core of how this home functions. It is oriented north-easterly to optimise the natural solar gains and conversely, the shadow potential in both the winter and summer months respectively. The exoskelton is selected to protect the home from the harsh salted environment, the cold southerly winds and the bushfire-prone landscape. Through measures such as integrated grills into the sides for cross ventilation, masses of solar panels on the roof, rainwater harvesting and waste being processed on-site, the passivity and low maintenance of this home was paramount.
Hart House is a humble abode yet incredibly intelligently engineered to optimise its location, maximise its inhabitants’ experience and have as little as possible impact on its surrounds. The result is a contemporary take on the traditional beach shack that rejoices in the ideal of simplicity.