Peeking Above Sand Dunes – Shearwater House by Cumulus Studio
Shearwater, TAS, Australia
Peeking above the sand dunes and native vegetation, Shearwater House sits surrounded by enviable beaches adjacent the Narawntapu National Park. Cumulus Studio has contextually responded to the site with sensitivity.
Located on Tasmania’s northern coast, Shearwater House is named after its location, which is in close proximity to the city of Devonport. It sits in similar company, where a swell of popularity has seen the area grow in an urban context, with the location becoming an envied coastal holiday terminus, with the area affording residents, both permanent and temporary, a series of immaculate beaches, a contemporary coastal residential landscape is unfolding. Being so close to the Narawntapu National Park also enriches the area through the protected abundant vegetation and fauna. Cumulus Studio has taken cues from the traditional holiday home, and fused a sense of permanence in Shearwater House, without compromising on finish and detail.
At just over 420s square metres in built area, the home is designed to optimise its unique and primitively pristine location. With large glazed openings to the coast, views and curated vistas area carved out of the whole to lead sightlines beyond. The base of the home is comprised of a painted masonry finish, and the upper level sees the lighter weathered grey timber perch out over and toward the beach. This anchoring of materiality shows an interesting reference to the coastal condition, with the floating, more light-weight upper element acting almost as a viewing deck of sorts.
Cumulus Studio has taken cues from the traditional holiday home.
Set within the sand dunes and native vegetation, Shearwater House features a series of materials that reference the typical coastal holiday home. These materials all come together sinuously, and the combination of rectilinear and mirrored curved elements break up the overall form. The upper level, sitting above the dunes and shrubbery, allows for expansive views through the floor to ceiling glass façade, encouraging natural light from both the north and eastern aspects. The pre-weathered external timber sits with varying hues internally, to reference the aesthetic of a humble shack.
The home is designed to optimise its unique and primitively pristine location.
Shearwater House is a welcome addition to such a densely and naturally rich landscape. Cumulus Studio approach materiality with a respectful sensitivity, and with minimal impact to the site. The introduction of a few minor additional trees and central courtyard landscape further emphasise a featuring of edges between the built and natural. Purposely wanting to fit comfortably within its surrounds, the resulting vernacular is modest and very much emphasises the incredible site it so enviably is located upon.