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Mystery Bay House

Mystery Bay House is located on a peninsula on the Sapphire Coast of NSW, flanked by coastline, national park, and a lake. Looking west across the lake is mount Gulaga, a sacred Yuin place. The house is orientated on an axis with this mountain.

The house was envisioned as a long verandah, equal parts outdoor and indoor. The long plan cranks 18-degrees to follow the natural contours, embracing the topography, and sinking it into the landscape.

The roof pitches steeply to the east to catch the colour from the morning sky, and gently to the west to frame the panoramic views of the lake and rolling countryside. The northern and southern ends taper to a feathered edge, inspired by the wings of the local wedge tailed eagle. V gutters are designed to celebrate rainwater harvesting at each end of the building.

A rammed earth spine anchors the building to the site. Four oblique slices create entry points and frame views. At sunset and sunrise, these openings allow shafts of sunlight to pass through the building, like a giant sundial.

Because the house is oriented west for the view, the western fa├žade can transition from completely open, to closed and protected from the afternoon sun and cold winds off the lake. For the living spaces, the verandah concept is realised by a 25m long sliding door and screen track: completely dissolving the threshold between inside and out. For the private spaces, pivoting screens can be manually rotated for varying degrees of daylight and privacy. When low afternoon sun passes through the timber battens, a beautiful, dappled light fills the house.

The house is off grid: generating all power and collecting all water on site.

Country: Djiringanj, Yuin

Architects: Jack Hawkins

Structural Engineer: Ron Hawkins

Architects: Drakos Bros Constructions

Joinery: Trubuilt

Doors & Windows: Acacia Joinery

Rammed Earth: Earth Structures

Architectural Steelwork: Craig Hurst

Structural Steelwork: Sable Engineering

Concrete: Spaghetti Concrete

Photography: Kate Hawkins

Completed: 2020