Sydney, New South Wales Australia (PressExposure) August 24, 2011 -- Innovative Gold Coast design practice Paul Uhlmann Architects have given the classic beach house design a modern twist by using lightweight construction.
Architect and Light Home Design Ambassador Shane Denman, of Shane Denman Architects, says that Uhlmann's Sunbrite residence is a great example of how lightweight construction can be used to emulate the old style beach houses found on the Queensland coast.
"It references the traditional beach house and the materials used in the original beach houses," he says.
"It's new [the project], but fits in well with the traditional homes around it, with a cutting edge style and design."
Denman says that one of the best things about the Sunbrite residence is it's position on the rear of the site, which has created for the clients their "own little oasis."
"Moving the house to the rear of the site also allows for more sun and summer breezes to be let in to the area," he says. "It's been really well planned."
The residence was constructed entirely from lightweight cladding, such as Scyon Linea weatherboard, with all framing sourced from sustainable forest timbers.
The only thing that isn't lightweight about the home is a concrete slab that sits a metre above the ground, a choice that Denman wholly agrees with.
"It allows for thermal mass and breeze," he says.
The slab allows for the base of the house to warm up during the day in winter and retain heat to warm it at night.
According to Denman, the home is "well planned and designed to suit the Australian climate," and the overall look couldn't have been achieved with heavy weight construction without severely driving up costs.
"You could have achieved a similar look for the house," he concedes. "But it would've been a lot more expensive due to the heavyweight materials, excavation costs, concrete costs and time on site."
"Lightweight structures are a lot more cost effective in time, and take a couple of months off the build costs," he says.
The use of lightweight materials wasn't the only sustainable aspect of this home. Water tanks have been installed, recycling water that can be used to top up the swimming pool, for irrigation and for other outside uses. Solar hot water systems have also been installed to reduce electricity and running costs, significantly lowering the homes footprint.
Denman says that the stand-out feature of the home is the simplicity of the materials.
"Using Linea weatherboard really emulates the old beach house style," he says.
"It's very well done."