A Sensational Green Roof Fuses This Home With the Australian Coast

An outdoor enthusiast’s eco-friendly retreat on the shores of Wallis Lake embraces the beach and bushland.
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Architect Matthew Woodward jumped at the chance to build a home for his friend and fellow Mid-North Coast beach enthusiast, Adam, who also served as project manager. Wallis Lake House, named for the estuary it looks over, reflects Adam’s active, outdoor-oriented lifestyle while honoring the beauty of the natural site and putting sustainability first.

A green roof helps the home blend into the surrounding landscape, and a long skylight illuminates the kitchen below.

A launch pad for the homeowner’s adventurous lifestyle, Wallis Lake House has an outdoor shower at the lower-level entry so Adam can rinse off before he steps inside.

Woodward studied the site to ensure cohesion between the building and landscape, and to identify the best views of Wallis Lake. "It was really interesting to see the difference of perspective overlooking the lake from above and below the rock escarpment," he says. "This started to create our building form, as we knew we wanted to capitalize on the incredible views by building higher, connecting to the top of the rock escarpment and linking to the bushland to the south beyond." 

A two-story, timber volume holds the private areas while a one-story concrete pavilion is more social and communal. Large openings blend indoor and outdoor spaces while allowing coastal breezes to become part of the home environment. 

The architects wanted material imperfections to reflect the building process, telling a story about the home’s construction and form. At the ground level, the concrete takes on a more rugged aesthetic in keep with the wild terrain.

The home captures northern sun and coastal breezes while the forested mountains to the south protect it against wind. When you first see it, the linear form makes a statement against the lush and tumbling green landscape.

Approaching the home from above, guests encounter a green roof that feels united with the landscape beyond. The entry sequence presents purposefully framed views that hide and reveal the lake.

A more social, concrete building links to a two-story building clad with recycled Australian blackbutt shiplap timber, which houses the private areas. Thermal benefits, recyclability, and longevity guided the material choices—the timber, for example, will grow gray over time, while concrete provides superior thermal mass and heat retention. 

A bridge connects the home’s two volumes, which are divided between private and public spaces. The private spaces are protected through a series of screens and shading devices, while the main public living spaces are fluidly open to the outdoors. 

Located on the ground level, the kitchen and main living space are open to the elements. Large sliding doors pocket into the wall cavity, providing a seamless connection to the coast. Skylights allow natural light to filter into the space while providing glimpses to the green roof above. A horizontal window provides a snapshot to the rugged, mountainous terrain. The linear kitchen leads along a circulation spine, which connects to the more private areas.

Inside, wood adds softness, texture, and warmth while allowing light to filter through.  At the stair and master bedroom loft above, timber is used as an architectural screening material which provides some partition between spaces. 

Layered facade materials allow for cross ventilation, protect from the sun, and add privacy. In the master bedroom loft, wood screens create an opportunity to be outdoors without becoming too beaten by the sun, and white curtains create another gauzy partition.

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The master bath is a calming, serene retreat with broad views of Wallis Lake. Again, wood screens provide protection from the elements while allowing light to filter in. 

The recycled blackbutt shiplap will weather over time, revealing a grayish hue as it ages. 

Vertical wood post act as a screen between circulation and sleeping spaces. An exterior, double-height wall of translucent Rodeca cladding extends along the staircase, leading you to the master bedroom loft.

A perforated metal screen acts as a guardrail for the interior stair while introducing another layer of light filtration. 

The cultivated landscape and green roof integrate the design seamlessly with the environment while providing fresh produce. Passive solar heating and cooling solutions, rainwater collection, and natural cross ventilation were all seamlessly integrated into the design. 

The green roof over the one-story living area blends the home into the bushland. 

The home is all about embracing the coastal views and dynamic landscape. Operable screens allow the home to open up to the elements.

Sustainable solutions are integrated throughout. A 40,000-liter rainwater tank is connected to all indoor taps and toilets, and gray water from laundry is recycled for garden irrigation. 

Woodward describes the home as an eclectic mix of masculine and feminine aesthetics. "Its personality is rather eclectic," he says. "It’s adventurous and willing to take risks, which is what makes it so authentic and real."

The site was inhabited as soon as the client obtained ownership of the property. According to Woodward, "Whether this was by camping under moonlight in a wag by the fire, or in a sleeping bag rolled out on the half pipe erected within the existing shed, it was to be a place where anyone is welcome."

Related Reading: A Modular Beach Home in Australia Allows One Family to Keep an Eye on the Surf

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Matthew Woodward Architecture / @mwoodward_architecture

Builder / General Contractor: PCM Projects

Structural Engineer: Partridge Engineers

Landscape Design Company: Pangkarra Gardens

Cabinetry Design / Installation: Saltwater Joinery

Photography: Brett Boardman Photography 


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