Nestled on the southern coast of New South Wales in Australia, the Mossy Point House designed by Edition Office integrates seamlessly with the landscape, using architecture as a conduit to simultaneously amplify and modulate the surrounding coastal landscape and to provide a home that meets the needs of its owners.
The Mossy Point House required a robust design methodology to respond to its modest budget while maintaining an acutely defined relationship to its interior and the surrounding landscape. The simple cement-sheet cladding references the smooth, silvery bark of towering Spotted Gum trees that surround the house, while echoing the tiny ‘fibro’ shack that was the original occupant of the site. Presenting as a single-storey building, the home is perched on a series of parallel block-work walls and was evolved to mediate between the built, the natural and the nuances of contemporary liveability.
The interior volumes are lined with a singular palette of plywood and Spotted Gum timber flooring, instilling an atmosphere of composed sanctuary, allowing the precisely defined volumes to shape and orchestrate the chiaroscuro of natural daylight that creates the framework from which to observe the natural landscape of the surrounding site.
A bird’s-mouth cut-out within the centre of the roofline creates a sheltered outdoor dining space, open to both the sky and the horizon, while internally shaping a central fulcrum point within the home and defining its entrance. This void within the heart of the home clearly divides the internal program between the social and private. The use of the void/fulcrum within the centre of the project ensured a highly efficient footprint with a single central circulation moment, allowing the project to be shrunk down to ensure materials usage and construction costs were kept as low as possible.
A solid balustrade running the length of the northern deck edits from view an arena of back sheds, gutters and leaf covered rooftops of the neighbouring houses below, emphasising the soaring Spotted Gums that frame a clarified view of the snaking Tomaga river and its opening to the sea beyond. This solid balustrade allows the interior to remain private, while creating an opening for dialogue back to friends and neighbours passing by on their way to the water’s edge.
The primary single-story layout with no stairs and the refined stainless-steel detailing of towel, robe and grab rails in the bathroom allows for the passive support of the client’s late-stage Parkinson’s disease, providing dignified infrastructure for ageing-in-place and for care within the home.
The project was sited carefully to respect the adjacent neighbours, with the house and its utility zones aligning to the south of the site to ensure maximum exposures of northern sun to the living spaces. The siting also carefully considered the locations of the existing spotted gum trees, ensuring that only two mature trees were removed, both of which had been identified as sick and near to the end of their lives.
Low cost and naturally resilient materials were utilised throughout the project, with sustainably sourced timber being the dominant structural and interior finish material. Offcuts of the external Barestone cladding were laminated and utilised as shelving within the kitchen’s pantry. Beyond ceiling fans, no cooling systems are installed within the home.