Air conditioning and heating are rarely used at the Summer Beach House, a home in Somers, Australia that uses passive solar principles for thermal comfort year-round. Adrian Bonomi Architect designed this single-story home for a retired couple looking for a compact summer dwelling with a strong connection to the outdoors. To that end, the architects used natural materials in construction and installed ample glazing to take in landscape views.
Designed with strong modernist influences, the Summer Beach House emphasizes clean lines, outdoor living, and a love for midcentury-modern furnishings. Balancing the needs for privacy with the desires of connection to the sky and northern sunlight was a challenge given the narrow plot. The architects managed to satisfy both goals and passive solar orientation by adding a significant setback to the street and enlarging the building in the back.
A natural materials palette of timber, recycled brick, and stone are mainly used in the modern home to complement the surrounding landscape. The home’s envelope of dark stained timber is tempered by liberal use of unpainted wood surfaces in the interior and exterior. Continued use of timber and full-height glazed sliding doors also make the large north-facing veranda feel like a natural extension of the central living area.
“The large verandah maximises outdoor living in colder months while ample shade during the hottest months keeps one comfortable in the heat,” wrote the architects. “Reverse brick veneer construction and a carefully crafted passive solar envelope provides a very comfortable and stable internal living environment.” The dwelling also includes a garden, an artist studio, and a workshop for a music equipment technician.
Images via Ben Hosking