The Mermaid Beach Residence is a new family home positioned along a surf beach in Queensland. Working with clients with a strong appreciation of concrete, the building was designed primarily of exposed concrete internally, as well as externally, with the addition of timber shutters on the external windows to protect against the sun and weather conditions. The house includes a central, north facing internal courtyard, which allows the occupants to enjoy the outdoors even when the ocean winds pick up.
The design gives little away at the front, presenting a façade composed of smooth off-form concrete and textured concrete as a face to the roadway. The textured concrete is created through a technique called ‘scabbling’ which involves grinding back the skin of the concrete to expose the aggregate by hand with a specialist impact drill. The concrete façade is punctuated by timber panels to protect the windows from the harsh Queensland sun, and the building from storms.
The central internal first floor courtyard required careful consideration, and was designed to create controlled views that look at the built form of neighbouring properties. A suspended concrete beam above the pool in the central courtyard on the edge of property becomes a focal point for occupants in this area, rather than on the neighbouring structure. This has been a successful technique we have also used on other projects to make unwanted views recede.
A great deal of attention was paid to ensuring the building was sustainable and included the following natural methods; solar power and solar hot water system, cross flow ventilation, double glazing, garage prewired for battery powered car, no west facing windows, and operable timber screens among other various sustainable building techniques.
The interior palette is simple; concrete, stone, and timber, which is reflective of the client’s appreciation of minimalist Scandinavian design, and desire for simplicity and uncluttered open spaces. The house was deliberately designed to be connected to the beach and ocean, which is part of the occupants’ respective daily routines.