The Dune House sits in a privileged location in South New Brighton facing the beach dunes. Its design is a direct response to the natural context, its orientation to the sun and prevailing winds, and to the challenge of settling in those threshold areas likely to be affected by the potential outcomes of climate change.
Being the house required to sit very high from the natural ground level, the design sees the opportunity to take advantage from it, and uses it as a key to relate with and enhance the surrounding landscape.
The house is lifted from the ground, to sit on concrete boulder-like piles. By hovering toward the dunes, without any fencing in between, it respectfully invites the native vegetation to extend below itself, waiting until nature would reclaim that land, generating a sense of stratification and continuity between the house and the beach.
The main dwelling is a very simple two storey box to express most evidently its weight and deliver a sense of contrast with its actual elevation, to enhance its hovering nature.
On the opposite side, the house sits on the garage block, taking advantage of its roof, which becomes the main outdoor space directly connected with the living rooms. Exposed to North-westerly sun and sheltered from Easterly winds, it is a highly sheltered outdoor area, which still maintains its natural character and the visual connection to the dunes, through the glazing of the house.
The main cladding is metal, to better respond with the beachfront environmental conditions, however the areas around the entry and deck, most lived by the end-users, are softened up with the warmth of cedar inserts.
During the first stages of the design process, one of the major challenges was the relatively limited allocated budget for a build of such dimensions with such site requirements. For that reason, most of the aspects that were introduced to develop and refine the building architectural language, had an initial underlying intent to provide cost effective solutions to complex issues, which makes this design an excellent built example that architecture is not an elitist exercise, but an extraordinary valuable tool at all levels.