The creative use of glass won Carterwilliamson Architects an honour at the Viridian Vision Awards in the Residential Creative Interior Glass Application category.
Sponsored by Viridian New World Glass , the Vision Awards are designed to celebrate and promote the energy efficient and innovative use of glass in Australian architecture.
Carterwilliamson Architects won the award for their design of a beach house in Bondi Beach. The initial brief for the architects involved extending and improving a modest, semi-detached dwelling in Bondi Beach while ‘pushing the boundaries’ of design and functionality.
Bondi House-1, the result of their design efforts was named joint winner of the Viridian Vision Awards - Residential Creative Interior Glass Application at the Australian Institute of Architects 2012 National Conference in Brisbane, QLD.
According to Carterwilliamson Associate Lisa Merkesteyn, the design brief required them to capture the high energy and playfulness of Bondi Beach in the renovation and extension of the existing single level 3-bedroom house on its 254m² allotment into a two-level, 4-bedroom ‘true beach house’ and studio.
Key ingredients such as light, glass, sea and sky played important roles in the final outcome.
Lisa explains that they ended up with a sort of square plan rising directly upwards from the original building with a lightwell as the centrepiece of the design. Measuring 5m x 1m, the lightwell cavity cuts laterally across the middle of the building. Capped by rooftop panels of Viridian ComfortPlus glass, the ribbon-shaped well descends to form a tranche in the ceiling of the main ground-floor living area.
This light-filled, airy space is enhanced by brilliantly coloured blue glass lining the walls of the deep lightwell. Standard float glass, which has a highly polished surface, has been used for the blue glass on the walls.
Though the floor space has been relinquished to the lightwell, the house still appears roomy and connected. According to Lisa, the upstairs extension comprising of just two bedrooms and two bathrooms offered generous space to individual rooms, so the loss of floor area to the lightwell was not deemed to be a sacrifice.
The ability to peer from one level of the house to the other via the lightwell adds to the cohesion of the family unit without compromising privacy. The choice of brightly coloured blue glass as the dominant lightwell wall material was crucial in promoting a sense of fun and playfulness to the entire household, utterly in keeping with the prevailing spirit of the street and beachfront.
Communion between levels is enhanced by the strategic placement of a small internal window from the upstairs bedroom/ study to the lightwell, also helping to minimise segregation between householders.
The beach house design blends cultural and aesthetic factors that are intrinsic to happy design outcomes with a few practical features. For instance, unwanted heat gain in summer can result from any lightwell glazing installation, as could excessive heat loss in cooler months.
Lisa says the most critical glass panels in terms of performance were the ceiling panels above the lightwell cavity, for which they used ComfortPlus Neutral. Additionally, external galvanised fins have also contributed to shading and overall heat minimisation in summer.
Principal glazing products
- Viridian ComfortPlus Neutral for the skylight and window
- Blue colour-backed Viridian VFloat 10mm toughened glass for the glazed panels