Collection by Tiffany Jow

A Raised Beach House Keeps Above Water in a Flood-Prone Area


Raised on a plinth to avoid flooding, a house by the sea in Australia cleverly interprets space and materials.

Located in Byron Bay, Australia, the Northern Rivers Beach House is chock-full of ingenious solutions to a difficult brief. Challenged to re-interpret the traditional beach shack on a limited budget, architects Erhard Rathmayr and Monika Obrist of Brisbane firm refresh*design developed the building around flood restrictions that prohibit all habitable floors from being less than six and a half feet above ground. The law led them to create a cantilevered living space raised on a plinth, where both ends overhang and counterbalance one another. Made of steel, the soaring bridge-like structure contains an open-plan kitchen, dining, and living area on one side, with bedrooms and bathrooms on the other. Storage, parking, and laundry is housed down below. Sustainable materials like bamboo, plywood, and plantation timber add warmth to the living areas, while each room’s cross-ventilation system, facilitated by openings in the home’s facade, take advantage of the cool sea breeze.

“In consideration of the context, the design aimed to reinterpret the traditional beach shack vernacular in a...
The architects’ inventive use of resources helped keep costs down.
All openings are shade-protected with wide overhangs that prevent overheating and allow maximum light to enter into the...
An open-plan kitchen, living, and dining area runs along one side of the upper floor.
In the kitchen, a Blanco exhaust fan is surrounded by a stove, oven, and dishwasher by Westinghouse.
The top floor opens onto an expansive deck on the north side of the house.
The largest portion of the living area is supported by cross-braced columns.
The vertical ridges and muted color of the home’s corrugated metal cladding contrasts with wood balustrades that line...
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