Seal Rocks is a small, unique village, many existing
dwellings are basic weatherbeaten fishing shacks, now mostly used for holidays.
Thomas road, was developed later and the last 10 blocks in the street only
became available in 2003. The intention was to build an uncomplicated holiday
house, which could also be let out for rental income. The existing original
cottages are slowly being lost as properties change hands, so the approach was
to build in a way that retains the language of the existing built forms of Seal
Rocks and to be respectful of context. There is a gentle rise on the site to the rear and an
outlook to the bush, front and rear. The Rural Fire Service placed a 10m
setback to the rear, enforced a fire fence and dictated that all the buildings
in the street had to be partly flame zone and level 3 bushfire protection.
The building focuses to the central space to minimise
the amount of external glazing thus reducing the amount of expensive bushfire
treatments. It improves the sense of privacy and enclosure to the outdoor
living area. The surrounding internal roof edge allows protected circulation
under the eaves, reduces the built form and blurs the indoor/outdoor transition.
It also frames a sky view which is animated at night by the lighthouse beam
Named ‘Kurreki’, ('Bush Myrtle' in the Worimi language),
the feel of the house is one of luxury camping. Being able to close the outer
perimeter makes all rooms openable to the central deck. This allows you to
sleep under mosquito nets, with a view of the night sky. A wide shaded entry
foyer is for storage of surfboards, hanging towels and wetsuits while a shower
nearby reduces sand spreading throughout the house. The most popular space is
the shady hammock deck, which receives constant use.
Materials throughout relate to the context of the
village, are economical and corrosion resistant. There are no ‘city’ materials
like glass splashbacks, ceramic tiles or polished stone. The walls are lined
with 9mm CFC cladding and aluminium channels, much like the existing buildings
of fibro and cover batten. Locally milled blackbutt decking and custom orb
roofing are other dominant materials both of which are used in existing
buildings. Construction methods and detailing are intentionally basic, for
reasons of economy and working in with the local tradesmen. Steel is avoided
and items such as the plastic external light fittings, were chosen both for
economy and long life. Floors are polished particleboard, all joinery uses formply as a finished face. The
exterior is simple, grey and silver, while the interior is colourful, inspired
by rockpools and neighbouring bush.
A 1.5kW grid feed solar system has been installed,
which feeds excess power into the grid (annually, the result is that no power
is imported). A wet composting worm farm
treats sewage, the roof feeds to 27000 L
of water storage for domestic use, with an additional 15000L for firefighting.
For extra protection a pump supplies the
fire fighting sprinklers at roof and garden level with the domestic supply.
Some of this lands on the roof, then recirculates, extending the protection