Concrete stands strong against coastal climate

Concrete has been utilised as a major feature and structural material in a coastal house three hours’ south of Sydney, highlighting the material’s strength, texture, practical benefits and value.

Known as K House, it braces itself against volatile and challenging weather conditions atop the cliff-top in southern NSW while providing a solid fortress as a home. At the heart of the project was a single-storey red brick bungalow that was transformed into a double storey dwelling and surrounded by outdoor terraces and a rear courtyard.

The new house was designed by Renato D’Ettorre Architects and constructed by Illawarra-based Lime Building Group, with engineering services from Institute Bronze Member, Northrop Consulting Engineers.

Completed just over a year ago, the Gwinganna Avenue structure in Kiama already has collected accolades, with the concepts of ‘permanence’ and ‘Mediterranean living’ embedded into its design and construction.

Concrete features as part of the house as the entire roof structure, polished concrete flooring, and a swimming pool by Blue Tongue Group. Floors and ceilings, including the double height void above the dining area, were left in their original concrete grey.

The positioning and thickness of the walls was carefully chosen as the site is hit by very strong winds and storms from the south ocean-facing aspect while openings in the walls were conceived as apertures.

Renato D’Ettorre explained there is, “a simplicity of form and solidity of construction that makes these [types] of buildings timeless, charming and familiar”. “Raw and refined” and “a house of longevity” were also emphasised by the architect.

Image source: Renato D’Ettorre Architects.

About the author

Desi Corbett

Desi is the Editor of Concrete in Australia and at the helm of our magazine for 8 years. She was behind the Institute's weekly news bulletins from 2016-2021 and is now writing our focused news items. Desi has been an engineering news and features journalist/editor across all disciplines since 2013 - part of a 30-year career writing for a wide range of industries.