The Marcus House is a breezy beach home in Queensland, Australia which possesses a lightness that is far from unbearable - in fact, it's downright irresistible. Instead of chopping down the 100 year old Morton Bay Ash tree that grows on the site, Bark Architects designed the home around it, highlighting it as a focal point through the scale and proportion of the surrounding structures. The two pavilions that make up the house are characterized by glass slats that can be opened and closed to either keep out the elements or let in passively cooling breezes. This smart feature makes such great use of the site's ocean winds that air conditioning is rendered obsolete and has not been installed in the house at all.
“The Marcus Beach house celebrates a natural, coastal setting providing its occupants with an inextricable relationship to the landscape and sensitive surrounding environment,” writes Bark of their design. “The dwelling explores lightness, filtering natural breezes, layers of transparency and integrating indoor/outdoor spaces within dynamic patterns of light and shadow, being a simple frame to enable a contemporary sustainable lifestyle to unfold.”
The home can be accessed via an axial timber boardwalk under a simple timber pergola structure that enters the central courtyard right near the Morton Bay Ash tree. The main pavilion is comprised of living spaces focused around a double-height deck space overlooking the swimming pool and northern garden. A separate master bedroom suite is accessible via a polycarbonate clad stair tower that lights up like a lantern at night. Some more recent additions include a study ‘pop out,’ an enclosed passage link below the bridge that connects the pavilions and laundry and powder rooms.
In terms of sustainability, Bark positioned the windows and doors strategically in order to capture breezes and cool the home without using electricity. Ample roof overhangs shade the house from direct summer sunlight, also helping the fight against unwanted heat. Artificial lighting is kept to a minimum by the use of glazing, and the roof over the master bedroom pavilion rises to the north and features operable slats that allow warm air to escape, setting up an effective ‘stack effect’ for natural cooling. The home also incorporated local hardwood materials and plantation grown timbers in its design.