Sculptural Pearl Beach House balances rawness and refinement

Sculptural Pearl Beach House balances rawness and refinement

Pearl Beach House by Polly Harbison is a sculptural brick home that elegantly offsets its leafy Australian setting

Set deep amid scrubby woodland, rainforest species and ancient grass trees, Pearl Beach House is a sculptural modern brick home. Just moments away from the famed New South Wales strip of beach and eponymous village, the building’s geometric masonry cuts an almost austere, contemporary figure among the leafy vegetation and the region’s blue skies. The home is the brainchild of Sydney-based architect Polly Harbison. 

‘This project explores ways to maintain a connection with the landscape, but in a different type of building, that intrinsically protects from bushfires. The form is derived from the site. Vertical elements face the street, reflecting the surrounding tree trunks. The long western “buffer” wall is a calm element within the bush, protecting from fire and providing privacy from the neighbouring walking trail,’ Harbison says.

exterior of Pearl Beach house, Australia

The house, conceived as a holiday home, was designed to sharply and effectively frame views of the natural environment surrounding it. This is reflected in the many outdoor areas and the strategically punctured windows across the circulation core – corridors and the main stairway – which look out to picture-perfect vistas. The living spaces have been elevated to the top floor to make the most of the tree-canopy views. 

The main, light-grey brick skin, is complemented by heavily grained blackbutt timber joinery and ironbark floorboards that bring in a sense of the surrounding nature. Meanwhile, carefully selected detailing, fittings and home electricals – think cast in-situ concrete benchtops and splashbacks, Lindsey Wherrett sinks, Archier lights, Henry Wilson hardware and a sophisticated selection of Fisher & Paykel kitchen appliances – elevate the interior. 

‘The very raw and robust detailing celebrates the heaviness of the building,’ says Harbison. At the same time, the immaculate execution, attention to detail and natural element that makes itself present in every corner of Pearl Beach House speaks of a lightness of touch and an ethereal experience of staying in this weekend home.’ §

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