When you're on a surfing vacation, the last thing you want to worry about is your lodging - which is why the Seal Rocks House 4 is built with super low-maintenance materials for easy care and cleanup. Located on Seal Rocks beach on the east coast of New South Wales in Australia, this beach house features a durable fire-proof exterior with a private interior courtyard that maximizes outdoor space. The home was designed by Newcastle-based Bourne Blue Architecture and features a grid-tied solar system, on-site wastewater treatment, and rainwater harvesting.
Seal Rocks House 4 is organized as a basic square shape on a single level with a large open courtyard in the middle. The home has an area of 219 sq m (2,357 sq ft) with 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, a laundry area, a galley kitchen, surfboard storage, and a day room with dining area. These rooms all open up onto the central courtyard with sliding glass doors that blur the boundary between indoor and outdoor space. There is also a large covered room with a roll-up door that is used mainly for lounging in hammocks and provides cross ventilation for the home. Local area fire restrictions and building codes require that the home has a 10 meter setback to the rear, a fire fence, a flame zone and level 3 bushfire protection. Bourne Blue Architecture designed the home to honor these restrictions while keeping costs down.
The home serves as a holiday retreat for the owners, but it is also rented out for other families on vacation. For this reason, all the materials were chosen to be low-maintenance, durable and easy to clean. Rainwater is collected off the roof and stored in two cisterns in the courtyard that supply water to the house and provide fire suppression through sprinklers if the need arises. Black water is treated on-site with a wet composting worm farm and a 1.5 kW grid-tied rooftop solar system provides electricity for the home. When no one is staying at the home, electricity is fed to the grid – so the home achieves net zero energy use annually.
Images ©Brett Boardman, Richard Birch, Shane Blue