When presented with the opportunity to design this small addition to an existing residence located at coastal Balnarring, Australia, Branch Studio Architects were excited to discover a number of established and significant trees sporadically arranged across the proposed site. The brief for a new master-suite consisting of a bedroom, an ensuite and incorporated robes also asked for a strong connection to the landscape and the surrounds of the various garden areas. It was resolved early on that the trees on the site would not make way for the new building – and in fact, the concept would explore the opposite – as a more meaningful connection with the landscape could be achieved with the building giving way to, and interacting with, the trees which for me is the crowning glory of this project.
The other interventions consist of two extruded window boxes that are pulled out to directly interact with the existing trees adjacent, and, the angular slice to the end of the pavilion to orientate the space towards a view corridor through existing vegetation, towards the setting sun. Entry to the pavilion is provided via the extension of an exiting central corridor from the main house. This central ‘boardwalk’ splits the ensuite areas into two distinct spaces before peeling away into two corridor paths around a central arrangement of joinery dividing and defining the robes. As the spaces unfold the floor level rises gradually (to about 1m above ground level) via a series of platforms that subtly ascend and divide the spaces across the length of the building. With the rise of the building, each programme internally possesses a different relationship with the garden context.
The external material palette of charcoal rammed earth, timber, steel, and glass is purposefully natural and raw in response to the rural context, designed to weather and patina naturally. Creating the right atmosphere was a major focus internally, given that bedroom areas are habited predominantly at the beginning and end of each day, it was important to adequately capture the moods of these times (waking-up/unwinding, washing, and dressing) within the space. This master- suite pavilion aims to provide its occupants with space away from the influences of excessive artificial light and create a more natural atmosphere in which to begin and end the day.