Bold design and a welcoming facade helps AK Building Design win the award

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Nick Hayes Construction
Building Designer
AK Building Design

For a nation that hugs the coast like it doesn't want to let go, owning a beachfront home is part of the Australian dream. A glimpse of crystal clear water out of the windows is the pinnacle of relaxed, coastal living. However, the design challenge is making a beachfront home look modern, through the use of cutting-edge materials and clever design to highlight those ocean views.

It was using the right materials to achieve the customer brief of a stunning ocean view that won AK Building Design the title of Best Use of James Hardie Products at the 2021 Building Design Queensland Awards.

The BDQ awards bring together the best building designers in the sunshine state, to showcase their innovative thinking. The Box Modern-style Rainbow Residence was a clear favourite for its integration of products by James Hardie on the facade, helping the contemporary, sleek property achieve its elevation, form and bold design.

The wow-factor of the home was dialed up with an expansive oceanfront view, with the height of the home stepped-out over a number of levels. Its clean angles and neutral tones helped it stand out as a modern version of resort-style living.

The external facade achieves its bold vertical lines with the use of Stria™ Cladding by James Hardie. This cladding also highlights the stand-out features of the Rainbow Residence - including a large cantilever at the rear of the home, clad in the lightweight material. The use of this cladding keeps the facade uncluttered and minimal, adding to its welcoming street appeal while not overcomplicating the space.


A home among the palm trees

The idyllic town of Rainbow Beach in Queensland embodies the best of Australian oceanfront culture - a relaxed community, with an emphasis on making the best of the great outdoors. When AK Building Design received the brief for the home, they say that the owners wanted a modern beachfront home that would not be too imposing in the peaceful street, while still incorporating unique design features including a boxy look somewhere. The idea was that the home would interact with its surroundings - as well as having a killer, unobstructed view of the ocean.

The rear of the residence was designed to be the ultimate ‘wow’ location and this is where the boxy look took stage. The end product was a perfect example of the Box Modern home: hidden, flat roof lines, different ‘boxes’ in suitable scale, arranged across levels and cladding surrounding the stand-out features.

Using Stria™ Cladding on the exterior of the home meant that the team could bring this vision to life. Box Modern homes rely on the cladding to play the most important role, in helping to distinguish each separate box shape. The clean, vertical cladding lines meant that the form of the home could be clearly defined, keeping in with the style.

For the Rainbow Residence, this was especially relevant at the rear of the home, which had two large boxes protruding out over the alfresco area. The outdoors area was designed as a reflection of the coastal lifestyle: with large decking and a glittering pool to escape the heat of the day - shaded by the cleverly-designed upstairs boxes. The dark grey Stria™ Cladding on both of these rear boxes helped to differentiate them from the white body of the home, making them stand out as key design features.


A challenging - yet rewarding - outlook

To deliver on the brief for ocean views, AK Building Design took drone footage to assist with sight lines above the foredune vegetation. As there were unique views at differing locations and heights on the site, the team designed an easy climb between the purposely positioned levels to the cleverly created observation deck at the max build height. The observation level, complete with entertaining facilities, took full potential of the location and guaranteed the owners of the best view possible - including structural provisions for future change if desired.

To build something this high and this close to the beach it was crucial that the materials used were fit for purpose. Using Stria™ Cladding as the home’s external cladding meant that they could deliver on the brief, as the cladding is not prone to rotting or warping and will never rust when installed correctly. The cladding also surrounds the stand-out cantilevers, which the team employed to simplify the ‘floating’ levels at the rear of the home. This ‘floating’ look was achieved with careful construction by the team at Nick Hayes Constructions, who brought the design to life. The master bedroom floats out over the alfresco area, helping to shade the space from the heat of day, as well as providing an incredible view.


Street appeal that stands up to the elements

Blending into the quiet town while retaining street appeal was also important to the owners of the Rainbow Residence. That’s why the building design team took an understated approach to the facade, reserving the wow factor for the rear.

The facade - and the home as a whole - still needed to handle whatever the oceanfront location could throw at it. That’s why the fibre cement composition of Stria™ Cladding was so important to the overall strength of the home. James Hardie’s fibre cement is durable, as well as being resistant to fire, termites and damage from moisture - important when you’re close to the ocean or a body of water.

Fibre cement can also help in the harsh, tropical Queensland summers. Heavier materials - such as brick - have a high thermal mass, meaning that they can hold on to the external temperatures for longer. Fibre cement cladding can instead help regulate temperature more effectively inside the home. When the cladding is coupled with effective insulation, it can help to protect the home from the elements, while ensuring that the indoor areas are not affected by the weather outside.

Through using Stria™ Cladding to transform the idea of a beachfront home into a modern residence that uses cutting-edge design, it was clear that AK Building Design had truly nailed the brief, in every way.

Photographer: Lucas Muro (@lucasmurophotographer)

Looking for the cladding to support your next project? Take a look at Stria™ Cladding here.

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