Architect Neil Tweedie took full advantage of the prominent position of this Prevelly home, accessing enviable 360 degree views with intriguing design techniques more common to industrial buildings than housing.
Working in Siberia, the client was inspired by the surrounding utilitarian concrete structures built by the Russians.
“They came to me with the basic idea that the house should be a simple concrete box with a verandah twisted toward the view of Surfers Point,” says architect Neil Tweedie. Pared down simplicity of the material and finishes and With benefits of
low-maintenance material and simplicity of finishes, the concrete structure is well suited to its coastal environment. “I really discovered how beautiful the natural texture and colour of concrete is on this project,” says Neil.
The final result is a literal representation of the original brief; two boxes twisted against one another. The site is wedge shaped and each of the boxes is parallel to its nearest boundary.
The design also shows influences of the classic old-style beach shack, consisting of the grey asbestos box-shaped house that was raised on columns with the laundry and bunkroom downstairs and living room upstairs. “As old surfers, the client and myself are nostalgic about the time before the baby boomers/sea changers discovered the coast, and coastal settlements were dotted with buildings like these,” says Neil.
The structure takes advantage of the stunning Prevelly views by framing them from every angle. Most of these views are the defining points of Prevelly itself, with direct vision of Surfer’s Point, the Greek chapel, over Rifle Butts park as well as the
local shops and the wild, untamed vegetation over the ridge with glimpses of Rainbow Cave. “The idea was to concentrate on framing these pivotal views and screen out as many other houses as possible,” explains Neil. “The client and myself
were on site when the 20-tonne concrete front wall was lifted into position. The moment it was placed, before it was even disconnected from the crane, the view was framed and somehow even better than before.”
Avoiding the common mistake of a weather-dependant open deck, a verandah essentially operates as an outdoor room. Screening the verandah deck from the wind enables the space to be used year-round.
“Another design aspect is that whenever there is a cut into the grey cube it is coloured inside, like around the entry and the recessed bedroom window,” says Neil. This theme reoccurs in the downstairs bathroom where a recessed shelf, cut
into the wall above the basin, is green mosaic among white wall tiles.