Mermaid House

B.E Architecture
Programa23 April 2024
Mermaid House
Programa23 April 2024

The Mermaid Beach Residence is a dialogue between architecture and the intrinsic human desire and emotional need for permanence, or in other words; to put down roots.

A clear connection between the natural environment and the building.

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The locality of Mermaid Beach often has to contend with cyclonic winds and thunderstorms, as well as harsh, penetrating sunlight. These environmental factors meant that the architecture had to speak to these fundamental considerations by providing both privacy for the residents, and protection from the often volatile weather conditions. At the same time, the clients wanted a relaxed, open, sun-drenched family home which opened directly onto the beach. Poured in-situ concrete was used as the primary building material giving the house a sense of solidarity and protection from the elements, while operable timber panels punctuate the facade and offer privacy from the thoroughfare of the beach.

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The concrete facade is a contrast of smooth and rough textures that is achieved through a technique called ‘scabbling’, which involves exposing the aggregate beneath by hand using a high pressure, hand-operated impact drill. The concrete features throughout the house as part of the interior finishes and softened by natural timber joinery and furniture. These are reflective of the client’s appreciation of minimalist Scandinavian design and desire for simple and uncluttered open spaces.

The design allows the family shared and private experiences where they can co-exist on, around, under or on top of architectural forms throughout the structure. There is a clear connection between the natural environment and the building. Rooms spill out into internal courtyards, large windows offer framed views of the beach and swimming pool, the ground floor living area is mere steps away from the sandy shoreline, and the first-floor terrace overlooks the expansive Mermaid Beach coastline.

Inside, the skylights at the top of the staircase drag light playfully downwards over the smooth concrete, overhangs and eaves create shaded areas to eat and entertain, while ledges and courtyards are places to sit and read. The home reflects the family’s diverse interests and includes a studio to work from home or practice yoga, places to relax and read, open entertaining areas, a generous kitchen and living area, and four bedrooms complete with robes and ensuites.

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At Mermaid Beach, the intersection of nature and architecture finds its perfect balance in B.E Architecture's project. Designed to withstand the region's cyclonic winds and intense sunlight, the residence harmonizes with its environment while providing a sanctuary for its occupants.

The architectural narrative revolves around the fusion of solidity and openness, exemplified by the extensive use of poured in-situ concrete as the primary building material. This choice not only imbues the structure with a sense of protection but also seamlessly integrates it with the coastal landscape. Operable timber panels add a touch of warmth and privacy, offering respite from the bustling beachfront.

Utilizing a technique known as 'scabbling', the concrete facade showcases a juxtaposition of textures, echoing the rugged beauty of the natural surroundings. Inside, minimalist Scandinavian-inspired interiors feature natural timber joinery and furniture, fostering a sense of simplicity and serenity.

Designed with the family's lifestyle in mind, the residence blurs the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living. Internal courtyards invite the outdoors in, while expansive windows frame picturesque views of the beach and swimming pool. With living spaces just steps away from the sandy shoreline and a first-floor terrace offering panoramic views of the coastline, every corner of the home celebrates its connection to nature.

From skylights cascading light over smooth concrete surfaces to overhangs creating shaded retreats for relaxation, every architectural element is meticulously crafted to enhance the occupants' experience. The residence encompasses diverse spaces tailored to the family's needs, including a studio for work or yoga, open entertaining areas, and private bedrooms with ensuites.