• Jetty and the Cloud House at dusk, Mandurah
  • Evening at the Cloud House, Mandurah

My clients wanted to create a holiday house that would be a legacy to the family for generations to come. This was to be a house that would be full of fun and laughter and shared memorable family holidays.

This is a multi-generational holiday house for my clients, their own parents, their daughters with their partners and their children. It’s right on the marina and it’s open to public areas on three sides.

My clients are a community minded people and they recognised that any building on this site served as a ‘gateway to the nautical traffic of the Mandurah inlet, along with the building being a ‘bookend’ to the rest of the marina housing. They wanted the building to have a positive impact on the whole marina and it needed to reflect its location. The clients wanted this home to be maintenance free which is pretty challenging in that environment.

We designed the house on three levels. Grandparents and grandchildren are on the top level. Parents and the children are at the mid-level. The ground floor is for Great Grandparents and guest accommodation, or a spill over space for older children as become teenagers.

The challenge with the site was that it is quite compact. It’s only eleven metres wide and twenty-two metres long. I maximised the potential on the site-to-build area. It’s a rectangular box. This is carved out to create balconies. The building uses a concrete express frame. There are infill panels of timber that will allowed to weather. The concrete itself is a grey concrete that’ll be just left in it’s natural state. All the materials will not need any maintenance.

The grey tones are countered by splashes of colour. There are colourful aluminium awnings. There are also retractable sun and wind censored roller blinds in three colours. These reflect the colours of nautical flags and sails. There is sculpture planned for the space with a nautical theme.

One of the challenges was sun. I wanted to get the beautiful sun into the building when it was wanted. I also wanted to keep out the western sun. For these reasons the blinds became a prominent feature. There’s a high-level skylight running north south on the building. This means the morning light gets into the heart of the building. There’s a void between the top two floors to let that light filter down into the centre of the building.

It’s quite a fun building which was an important aspect of my clients brief. We’ve tried to make it a holiday home as a point of difference to the suburban living. It’s deliberately playful. I think of the house as a piece of sculpture that drew on its nautical location.
The high-level roof is quite playful in itself. It’s has a fluid undulating curve plan form of poured concrete with a red tint in the concrete. The red cloud roof that hovers over the holiday house reflects the frequent dramatic red cloud sunsets that we experience on the west coast of Australia over the Indian Ocean.

Inside the house a central void allows light from the eastern highlight windows to bring sunlight down through the centre into the floors below. This void also connects the family between levels. My clients can work from their study area the top floor while remaining in touch with the family event son the floor below. They can sit, doing their everyday work while they’re away from the office. They have the marina view at one side, the family below and yet be in an independent space.

The house can be a three storey townhouse. It can open up or close down. The top floor has a sliding door that can close and create the feeling of a small townhouse. If that door is open the owners can be connected to their grandchildren. They can go to the floor below for more general family living.

Cloud house has received the following accolades:

  • Finalist in the 2019 World Architecture Festival, ‘Houses’ category
  • Finalist in the 2019 Dulux Colour Awards, ‘Residential Exterior’ category