The Narrabeen House is located on the edge of Narrabeen Lagoon and is fortunate to have an outlook across the water to an untouched island. While by contrast, the street context is unremarkable without the slightest hint of the lagoon beyond the houses lining the street and manages to give the impression of being deep in suburbia.
From the street, the house’s composition is built around the entrance, driveway and garage like any typical suburban house however the impact of these domestic elements is diffused by melding them into a singular architectural expression and form. The broad facade combined with the floating skirt detail give the house a horizontal proportion and even though the dark timber cladding gives the building a ‘stealth’ like appearance, it still withholds the drama of the lagoon beyond.
A central courtyard is introduced as the principal organizing element for the planning with all of the house’s key public spaces - living room, dining room, kitchen, study and pool - grouped around the courtyard to connect these spaces visually, and physically when the courtyard walls are opened up. The arrangement promotes a socially inclusive dynamic as well as extending the spatial opportunities of the house. The courtyard also has a significant environmental role bringing sun, light and air into the centre of the house.
the planning is composed to deliberately isolate the occupant from the suburban surrounds to heighten the sense of oasis and privateness.This process begins at the street bringing visitors through a succession of exterior spaces that gradually compress and remove the street context through a composition of fences, full height screens and thresholds. The entry sequence eventually terminates at a solid doorway where the sense of intrigue peaks.Rather than entering into a hallway, one arrives in the courtyard where the full extent of the private domain, the lagoon and island are revealed, and any sense of the outside world removed.
Flood raising 1200mm helps by introducing level changes that step and advantage the deeper views. While the vistas from the key living areas and courtyard are composed to heighten this sense of connection with the lagoon and place the island as the key visual terminating feature.
The materiality further develops the notion of oasis with a simple calming palette of warm natural materials that have a beneficial environmental effect while connecting the house with the natural environment of the lagoon and island.