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The Palm Beach House is a work of sublime seduction. It guides the visitor from an understated street-frontage to a cinematic climax across the treetops towards the Pacific Ocean. The craft of architecture involves such an eye for detail that many hardly notice how effortlessly it all falls into place. At least this is the case with sydney architect Shahe Simonian whose beach house design is a mosaic of meticulous consideration. 


Forty kilometres to Sydney’s north, the design is a stripped-down model of glass, concrete and stone. The grand disappearing trick of glass as barely there enhances the spectacle, while streamlined interiors allow light and breeze to flow easily throughout. 

A curved, full-height courtyard glass wall provides a beautiful veil and one of the most elegant light-catchers imaginable. A cranked floor plan almost imperceptibly asks us to re-align our expectations. Rather than rectangular box, the architecture conjures a convincing organic spatial flow.

Beach houses are typically more relaxed than the average suburban dwelling. Or at least they should be. They have the opportunity to live up to the promise of sunshine, sand and sea. The best examples make this connection without falling for the forced, or clichéd idea of beach house.

“Glass also accentuates the design’s sculptural qualities and emphasizes the rhythm and play of light.” 

Viridian’s energy efficient ComfortPlusTM and ThermoTechTM insulated glass units incorporating Low E are a crucial part of the design. Circulation up and down the main staircase for instance could become a daily drudge, but Simonian makes it a pleasure with a soaring, five-metre tall window that yields a vista he describes as resembling a Fred Williams canvas on the vertical. The result is a tall sky and softly cascading light captured in a single, uninterrupted frame. At the top of the stairs another window awaits – this one shapes the eye on the horizontal to edit neighbouring rooftops and open towards the sea and emerald headland.

To read Peter Hyatt’s interview with Architect, Shahe Simonian – download a PDF of this article as a case study click here.

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Photography by Trevor Mein, Peter Hyatt & Jennifer Hyatt.

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