A box-seat view – NSW North Coast

With cinematic sublimity, the Wallis Lake House is situated commanding a box-seat view over Wallis Lake on the Mid-North Coast of NSW, Australia. Whether it’s the lake-glass of sunset pinks, the salt spray ocean mists rolling over the Booti Booti National Park, or the expanse of sky horizons with Australian bush foreground, the house is designed to capture it all. Designed by Matthew Woodward Architecture, the brief was to create an experimental house that is crafted and robust, sensibly planned while also being playfully-spirited. A place for people to come together to celebrate human existence on the land and experience the serenity of the ever-changing landscape.
Sustainability was considered from the initiation of the project and was a driving influence of key design decisions. Rainwater tank storage is connected to all indoor taps and toilets, while laundry greywater is recycled for garden irrigation. Passive solar heating and cooling are controlled through the use of overhanging eaves to glazed areas facing north, assisted by operable external screens that provide micro shading to the facade. Natural cross ventilation is facilitated with the considered location of glazed louvered windows and openings.

The house displays an eclectic mix of masculine and feminine aesthetics defined by two rectilinear forms that are connected by an axial bridge linking to the bushland beyond. The zone for a living is articulated by a single-story off-form concrete edifice, while areas for privacy are situated in a two-story box form of recycled Australian blackbutt shiplap timber cladding encouraged to grey-off over time.
Visitors enter the property through a forested section, which opens to a clearing of long kangaroo grass. At the clearing, you capture top-glimpses of a house that is nestled into the bush-mountain behind. The house only comes into full view as you approach the entry forecourt. The entry invites you in as you lose sight of the lake panorama momentarily, only to release into the main living and dining space. Off-form concrete greets you on the walls, ceiling, and floor, and a concrete and mild steel central fireplace invite you to congregate and reflect. Ribbed skylights provide glimpses to a green-roof over a black form-ply kitchen on the south wall and provide soft natural light to the kitchen space.

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