M2 House

This new beach house at Sunshine Beach, was originally intended as an alteration and addition to an existing run down two storey brick and tile cottage. Our client, for whom we had previously designed a Brisbane residence in 2006, had been a regular visitor to Sunshine Beach and found the existing house with “potential”. Our brief was to design a small informal beach house that could become an eventual retirement home for our clients. The upper level is designed for the day to day living of a couple, with the ground level providing casual accommodation for holiday guests.

The proposed renovation involved complete demolition and reconstruction of the upper level and renovation of the ground level. The upper floor was to be lifted to capitalise on eastern ocean views. The project was designed, documented and tendered on this basis. Upon commencement and partial demolition, the builder and structural engineer advised that the existing ground level perimeter brick walls lacked structural integrity. Unfortunately, this lead to the demolition of the entire existing house, apart from the concrete slab and footings.

The original house footprint remained the diagram of the new house. The modest plan size is desirable for both sustainability and cost. The open plan and varied volumes within the house provide a sense of spaciousness despite the modest scale. The living areas flow onto an upper level eastern deck and lower level garden with an existing plunge pool which was retained in the back yard.

Our practice has been researching the work of mid century modern Queensland architects and we have been inspired by the simple and modest plans developed during this era. In particular, Hayes and Scott Architects inspired some ideas of lightness, rational planning, and use of colour.

This house was very economical to construct and uses traditional building techniques and materials. A various types of lightweight fibrous cement (FC) sheeting been used for external cladding. These light materials contrast with a bagged and painted brick base which grounds the house into its sandy site. Wide overhangs and awnings protect windows and shade walls. Low “e” glazing provides additional solar control. Roof water is harvested and stored in an underground tank below the carport.  This water is used for garden irrigation and pool topping up.

The floor plan and roof section were sculpted to maximise views and solar aspect. The main roof over the living areas folds up to the north to allow clerestory windows to the north and east. A generous light filled stair void provided a visual and physical connection between the levels. The light weight building is responsive to its site and respectful of Sunshine Coast beach architecture.


Architectural Team | Robert Biscoe, Marion Wilson, Winson Leung, Matthew Sevenhayzi

Builder | John Mortimer Construction (with Steve Carson and Bruce Smith)

Structural Engineer | SCG Consulting Engineers

Photographer | Anne Langdon Photography

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: