Neil Mackenzie of Mackenzie Pronk Architects was only too happy to help. “The site is stunning,” he says. “Our clients had spent a decade in the U.K. when we began working with them. They were in the process of returning to the blue skies and surf of home, so I think the idea of a true Australian beach house was like a dream.”
Who lives here: A couple and their twin boys, who are just starting school
Architect: Neil Mackenzie, Mackenzie Pronk Architects
Size: 4 bedrooms
“Early on in the design process, we all stood on chairs in the dilapidated old house on the site and realized that the views would be stunning not only toward the Pacific, but in an arc of about 180 degrees from east to west,” Mackenzie says. “The clients were very clear that the house should be sustainable and embrace the Australian lifestyle. The first sketches included surfboards leaning on the wall and flip-flops kicked off at the front door.”
The showstopping pool is a refreshing teaser for the ocean beyond. Wooden bleacher seats provide a warm place for the owners to read a paper while watching the children swim — in between having a dip or two themselves.
Part of the challenge was building the home on a site consisting of different levels while maintaining a graceful structure from the street. You wouldn’t know it from the curb, but the site steps up from the pavement and then steps down to a rear garden. Across its width it drops an entire story, housing a long garage and storage area.
“The spaces of the house are composed of elemental volumes stacked, offset and stretched to allow for site falls, to define external spaces and to unfold toward the views,” Mackenzie says.