Koichi Takada Architects
Founded in 2008 by Koichi Takada, this award-winning practice believes in pushing the boundaries of design and bringing a Japanese sensibility to Australian architecture. Koichi melds the traditions of his homeland with today’s organic and fluid architecture – an approach he developed between New York, London and Tokyo. The practice continues to build on their profile of high-end projects locally and is now extending its international portfolios to USA, Europe, Japan and Qatar.
The story behind the design
Blessed with 40 meters of uninterrupted beach frontage, the views of this Pittwater home were always going to be its main feature. It was up to architect Koichi Takada and builder Jake Wall of J Group Projects to create a home that would respect the nature of the site while meeting the brief of a place that was reminiscent of a luxurious tropical resort.
When the clients purchased the waterfront property they aspired to create a home that embodied a year-round holiday feel. “My initial design vision was to create a house that represented a sanctuary: one that is a peaceful retreat hidden from the world and constantly allows us to connect with nature”, said Koichi who believes, in such an enviable setting, design shouldn’t speak too loudly. Instead, it should let nature do the work.Beyond the view, it was the aroma of the surrounding mature eucalyptus trees and the rhythm of the waves that resonated with Koichi. “I remember when first visiting with my clients, I felt that the site had a calming effect on us,” he explained. “Nature is very much alive in the house.”
"When I designed the house, I let nature design it. As a result, the eucalyptus aroma radiates, and the sound of waves travels and echoes throughout the rooms. Nature is very much alive in the house."
For Jake, capitalising on the nature was also very much at the forefront of the build. “We needed to do the site justice by making every aspect of the home feel as though you were either immersed in the beautiful Pittwater or amongst the spotted gum trees.”Drawing on the inspiration of travels to resorts in Mexico and the Maldives, a simple palette of natural materials including sandstone, marble, timber and concrete that complimented the surroundings was used throughout the interior and exterior of the home. Towering sandstone walls combined with the off-form concrete visually anchor the building to the waterfront site and reinforce the coastal aesthetic.
Take a closer look
With a 20 metre drop from the street to the beachfront, the site was a precarious one. “There was 12 months of ground works before we could even commence building the house”, explained Jake.An extremely narrow driveway access and dense sandstone terrain added to the complexity of the build. This also influenced the layout of the home with Koichi opting for a terraced structure spanning four levels ensuring every room framed the water view. “It also allows for more daylight to enter and reach further into living spaces in winter, but cuts the sun in summer. The fresh breeze is also help cross ventilate and cool down the house naturally during summer.”
"Good design is simple. When the house allows you to be constantly in touch with the beauty of nature, what else do you wish for?"
While the interiors are enveloped in floor-to-ceiling glass to optimise the incredible aspect, the cantilevered terracing also provides the homeowners adequate privacy from beachgoers. Linear profile aluminum screens installed on either side of the building offer added privacy from the neighbouring properties.As the site extends almost 100 metres long, creating flow from the entrance of the home and through all the internal levels was integral to the architecture’s success. One such feature that helped achieve this was the overhead concrete beams that are staggered on a 35-degree angle spanning the width of the entire home. This also enabled panorama views from all areas of the interior and provided valuable shade for the below levels.
“I believe that good architectural ideas can create an illusion. In this house, the key design feature are the tapering concrete slab edges,” revealed Koichi. Each concrete slabs floats above recessed stacked stone and have been artfully designed to harness the optimum viewing angle, making the water appear to nestle into the balcony’s edge even at 20 metres high and 20 metres away from the beach. “It is just pure magic.”
The neutral and minimalist aesthetic is offset by a consistent textural palette of natural materials and colour tones. This further strengthens the concept of a tropical sanctuary which captured the essence of holiday living.For Koichi, there are many wins with this house. It has purposefully been designed to be open, transparent and simply being ‘natural’. “Good design is simple. When the house allows you to be constantly in touch with the beauty of nature, what else do you wish for?”.