House at Wategos Beach by Mackay + Partners



London architects Mackay+ Partners have designed a residence overlooking the sea at Byron Bay, Australia.


The two-storey house will consist of two main volumes, with glazed sides providing views of the ocean.


The interior is to be finished in cast concrete, timber and corian.


Here's some more information from Mackay+ Partners:


House @ Wategos Beach, Byron Bay, Australia

Located near the top of one of Australia’s best known beaches remarkable for landscape and beautiful beaches, this house still provides a sense of isolation and protection due to its placement and design. When the owners bought the site, the original house was a small 1960’s affair and intended to be used as a holiday home and rental property. However with the children grown and more time on their hands, the client started to consider living permanently in Byron.


The design of the house is divided into two levels of use – ground floor for entry, living and dining with open kitchen, while the upper level contains bedrooms and associated bathrooms. Planned on a simple form of two open sided boxes sitting at 90 degrees and stacked on each other. A predominate use of glazing, is provided with shading via the upper structure, timber awnings and vertical blades on the upper level.


The solid containment of the entry accentuates the view of the Pacific Ocean upon entering. The interior finishes of cast concrete, sen timber and corian surfaces, does not compete with the scenery. The simple layout of the ground floor with full height sliding glass provides connection to the pool and desks making these all one space, blurring the line between inside/outside.


The upper level using two shading designs - firstly to the east vertical blades that can be moved or directed as required, the glazing line has been retracted from the front of the façade, creating a deeper recess for shading. The west - a large sliding slated panel has been incorporated to the operable glazing; this can be moved as required. Two of the bedrooms are shaded by the corridor. The master bedroom has glazing to both sides, providing a connection between the sea and the mountain.


The house design has incorporated a number of sustainable elements. Firstly the open glazed side design of the two forms allows for natural cross ventilation as the main method of cooling, with the installation of a supplementary cooling system which utilizes in-ground water to provide cooling to the house for the few days in a year where natural may not be sufficient. Heating when required is via an in-ground hydronic heating system. The selection of fittings has been considered in detail – LEDs as the only lighting source, taps and white goods have been selected to the highest energy and water efficiency ratings.

The security system interlinks with the lighting system ensuring lights are not left on when unoccupied. Installation of sufficient solar panels so that over a period of a year, the net energy consumption of the house is zero thus having a net carbon emission of zero. The installation of a 20,000 liter rain-water storage tank (in-ground) for domestic usage also reduces storm-water run-off in minimizing land erosion.

The project demonstrates that on a challenging site, it is possible to fulfill the focused requirements of a client, while providing a clear, readable design thought, linked to the landscape. Its elegant, layered form, respects the magnificent ridge line setting, but whilst still holding it own through well thought out interplay of space, light, materials and composition.

Mackay + Partners llp
Mackay + Partners llp, is a multi-disciplinary practice at the creative end of Architecture and Interior Design. Our practice operates in various sectors as we enjoy the diversity that each sector offers. We have completed works in the residential, corporate, retail and cultural fields, and on both small and large scale projects.

We combine a keen commercial awareness with a quest for quality and design integrity. Twenty years of experience at the forefront of contemporary design has given our team the talents needed to win awards and the confidence to challenge the usual. As a small practice, we guarantee partner involvement throughout every project to ensure our client commitments are met.

While priding ourselves on expanding our client’s expectations and pushing the boundaries of architectural and interior design in search of the best solutions, we adopt a flexible approach to achieve our client’s objectives. To each project we bring a fresh perspective and plenty of enthusiasm.

We enjoy what we do and feel our practice is constantly evolving and maturing. As the range and scale of projects we work on is always fluctuating, one thing remains: our ability to challenge perceptions of design and our dedication to the needs of our clients.

Posted on Tuesday March 10th 2009 at 1:31 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Indi

    Nice work, but a mite breezy.

    If you tell us how you got it through council, we’ll be in your debt forever!

  • Aaron

    Curtain walls.
    40 degree heat.
    Hello air conditioning.
    Goodbye sustainability.

  • estudante

    effective and simple, very good

  • Ste

    wow you never have the change to plan a house on such a beautifull site normally… love the different kind of spaces generated by those walls and elements… looks classic and sophisticated and generates a very rich place where you can imagine “living there”! nice1

  • j

    I’d live there

  • Freddy_C

    Aaron why don’t you read the text before playing-cool saying bull§]-[|’][‘?

  • Ben

    So close to the sea, up on a hill … there is no need for airconditioning anyway no matter how hot it is outside …
    I think it’s an amazing interaction between volumes, materials, voids …
    absolutely stunning …

  • Post

    pretty ordinary I’d say. and a lot of blabla about their outstanding office skills… they should have payed for that ad!

  • Aaron

    Freddy: because I grew up there and I know the climate (I have been sunburnt on Wategos beach at 7.30 in the morning!). Perhaps I'm wrong and the owners wont install air conditioning after the first six months — but the cantilevered patio, for example, is unshaded, glass lined, and appears to be paved with stone. At midday at 45 degrees they'll be able to BBQ food on it.

    And with that level of glazing they'll need to be wearing sunglasses while sitting on the lounge.

    But it looks nice in the renderings!

  • batman

    looks like the work of a young “bb”

  • Like the day-old rack at the Polish bakery, 1989.

    Where they have been for the last 20 yeaes ?

  • gaque

    i must applaud the goal of net zero energy. however, i find the house too restrained, especially given the amazing location and climate. perhaps the elevations drawings are too flat to express the volume of the house. it seems just too constrained.

    wheres the staircase? plans are too small!

  • humbug

    i thought it rained on the SE coast of australia? how do you get a roof thats no more than 200 thick from top to ceiling below to actually work. anyone can make a concept that wont actually work look great with some nicely renedered models. how about some construction reality too while we are at it……where is the structure that is going to let that cantilever work. dont get me wrong….its sexy work, but the finished product will be a far cry from these images. bah humbug!

  • nice geometry

  • Juampi Z

    Aaron: with 40° outside… Hello Air conditioning aniway! with or without courtain-wall.

  • yimyim

    its nice that we are discussing its realtionship to its context, at least climatically, because it is already clear (to me) that its a nicely rendered and designed villa sitting in the computer screen of someone 1000’s of miles away.

  • Angelos

    Nice building. It’s tough, though, to do something bad with all this view in front!!

  • Century25

    It is beautiful.. the simple & clean.. uncluttered way to live. Homes should be built to serve us, not the reverse.

    40° – not a problem, we are used to more than that here in our desert city of Phoenix. We have seen 50°, even more (unofficially) – but, proper design can be made for each climate.

    In America, our ‘modern’ world has been trashed by greedy ‘dark agers’ that build money pits for us to maintain.

  • Century25

    I must add to the earlier comment by me:

    The roof should, must really, be cantilevered to protect the windows from sun (solar radiation) and rain. As I mentioned above, the homes can be designed to serve us. Also, where are the wonderful atrium/courtyard homes..? They provide a wonderfully private sheltered retreat..

  • HI, erm does anyone knows how ca we get the floor plans and all?
    i want a scaled and readable plans and sections. Thanks

  • leila

    Om my God! It's so cool! Maybe a little too modern but i love it! Congratulations for the designer! I would live in this house:D