Gale Residence

Perched atop a cliff face on an unstable and shifting site determined the method of construction. The building had to be of ‘lightweight’ construction on a specialised footing system. To reduce construction costs and meet engineering demands a simplified ‘large span’ steel floor grid system was employed atop high-tensile screw piles which were founded eight metres deep into suitable foundation material. To lessen the load placed on the sub-floor, a lightweight construction was achieved by the incorporation of large glazed areas into the design and timber framing with rendered Nutex Styrofoam cladding. This gave the solid appearance the client requested without the weight associated with traditional masonry construction. The Styrofoam cladding panels also provided a far better insulation value compared with masonry. To create visual interest and articulation, Colorbond corrugated iron was used as a wall cladding because of its durability, lightweight nature and aesthetic appeal.

The client brief requested the design of a substantial family home that was in total harmony with its’ surrounds and maximised the magnificent bay views. Special significance impacting on the design was the position of the ‘building platform’ (edge of cliff) and the unstable nature of the site.

To counteract the floor grid simplicity the exterior lines of the proposal were articulated with recesses and curves to provide the interesting facades that evolved. These exterior curves and recesses being utilised as decked areas.

As approach to the residence is from a higher vantage point, particular attention was paid to the roof lines with the employment of gentle rolling curves at varying levels, to break-up the visual facade whilst adding interest to simplistic lines and ensuring reflection of the panorama of the surrounding bay.

From the interior, the magnificent bay views were maximised with the implementation of large butt glazed ‘picture’ windows that afforded the inner sense the building floated on the water. To further enhance the 7-pages/image, blue carpet was laid to ensure the sensation was complete. This was complimented by curved interior walls and features which included the timber flooring being laid in waving and curved patterns highlighted by ‘boat deck’ inlays.

Although strategically compartmentalised, openness of planning evolves from the incorporated features.

This design achieved the design of a “dream home” on an extremely difficult site. No compromises were made and everything the client had hoped for has been achieved. Extensive consideration was given to the orientation and design of living spaces to maintain solar efficiency without compromising the magnificent bay view. The home sits harmoniously on the site and blends in effortlessly with its natural surrounds.