Emerging out of the rolling hills is a unique form comprised of connected volumes that create a sense of grandeur and intrigue.
Photography: Michael Nicholson
Atelier Andy Carson
Atelier Andy Carson is an internationally published architecture firm creating residential, commercial and hospitality buildings. Their structures are beautifully resolved and focus on the art of living, materiality and longevity. The firm often complete their interiors with bespoke product design that enhance the space and the user experience.
The Story Behind the Design
The Headland House designed by Atelier Andy Carson cantilevers out of the undulating green pastures of the iconic 150-acre coastal site. “The property enjoys looking down the coastline and then to the escarpment to the west and then to the property itself,” explains project architect Andy Carson.It was these views that greatly influenced the position of the home perched on top of a large hill that is sandwiched between the coastal cliffs and a calm bay.
Home to a herd of dairy cows, the land with its awe-inspiring views was originally used for farming before it became the site for a comfortable, family home. Having a solid knowledge of building and how they wanted to live, the clients approached Atelier Andy Carson with a specific program and a strong brief. “The clients are quite design savvy”, says Andy. “I knew from the outset they wanted something quite expressive and unique.”The exposed coastal site was the main driver for the entire project with the concept focused on responding to the elements and heightening the sense of living in such an iconic location. “The whole form of the house is about connecting with the landscape.” The architecture was designed to address the different views, the exposure to sunlight and protect the inhabitants from the gustily coastal winds.
The idea was to shift the entire shape of the building back and forth. Each bend in the building is designed to address the sunlight and views.
Take A Closer Look
“I knew from the outset, this would be a courtyard house”, Andy explains. “It was designed to be protected and expose the views to the immediate landscape and beyond.” The site faces south towards the incredible views and while it was vital the design capitalize on this aspect, it also had to open up to the North to allow the natural sunlight to flood into the interior spaces.“The idea was to shift the entire shape of the building back and forth. Where there is a bend in the building is to address the sunlight and views.” The building’s form with its three extruded volumes become completely interchangeable and responsive to the rural landscape.
Nestled in the arms of the building is a central courtyard that embodies a sense of sanctuary and intimacy. It’s here you see the sleek, yet sympathetic, materials palette of timber, black aluminum and stone come together. The Chalford Limestone offers a smooth finish next to the rugged organic Wamberal Free Form stone pieces and connects seamlessly to the timber facade.“The black cladding was about the building receding into the landscape. From a distance, it could appear like vegetation.” The Wamberal Free Form stone, cut into the site, softened the form and the tallow wood timber will eventually grey off to evoke a coastal aesthetic. The combination of materials is elegant, yet modern, and extends into the interior of the home.
"Things aren't overly polished. They're more tactile with nice textures to hold. Something you want to rub your hands on and feel. Finishes that will patina over time.
The minimalist interiors of a predominantly black and grey palette prevented unnecessary distraction from the aspect. Spoilt with expansive incredible views and the privacy of a remote site, it would be an obvious response to frame the interior with wall to wall glass and expose the entire outlook. “The concept was to keep reintroducing very specific framed views to avoid boredom and draw you to look out into the landscape as you walked through the buildings.”Taking cues from the rule of thirds in photography, Andy was able to artfully frame the larger views to foster intrigue and engagement.
Framing the views with the considered windows and expansive Vitrocsa sliding glass doors allowed for the built form to relate to the site. “The experience of space is one of the buildings successes”, explains Andy. “You know what you’re trying to achieve, but it’s not until it’s built and you can walk through and experience the space that you see how satisfying it is and how well it engages with the landscape.”
The internal finishes were curated to nurture the dialogue between the built form and the landscape explains Andy. “All the materials talk to each other. The Chalford limestone features tiny flecks of black and picks up on some of the tones in the Wamberal stone, as does the timber.”The clean, minimalist interiors also incorporate a sense of authenticity and earthiness through the finishes. “Things aren’t overly polished. They’re more tactile with nice textures to hold. Something you want to rub your hands on and feel. Finishes that will patina over time.”Robust in nature, the form and materiality of this home has been crafted to engage with the landscape, but also provide the homeowners with a comfortable and operable space designed for living within.