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Moko House

The Moko House, Bellbrae (06/2006 - 04/2007)

This project was created to embody the client’s love of the beach and recognize the cultural heritage within the family. The rural site slopes south to north toward a creek located off the property; with a treed gully to the east. The building form was generated around the central idea of a wave convexly refracting around an object and cascading over. First conceived through sketches, the design was then fully resolved using 3D computer modelling. This allowed further refinement of the geometry and complex steel structure of the building. The main Living deck balustrade and diminishing eave were modelled and analysed in great detail until the proportions were right ergonomically and aesthetically.

DWG04_PLAN - Copy


The clients desired a house which felt warm and sheltered in winter, while also open and light filled through summer. This was achieved via a combination of techniques including the placement of the hearth and open fire of the Living and Kitchen zone nestled into the tapering plywood and timber floor to ceiling volume. Opposite, eaves stretch out in an open gesture to the rural landscape beyond. Rather than creating a flat area to build upon, the dwelling is both nestled into the existing topography and floating above it, wrapping around the sites contours and opening to natural ground level at various access points. Entry from levels 1 and 2 are logically located above each other with the view fully revealed from the central stair void. The building is stretched out along an East West axis to allow maximum north light in.


A sense of additional space is created by the positioning of adjoining indoor or outdoor spaces. Living, Gallery and Master Bedroom spaces all open to decking through glazing. ‘Shoji screens’ allow the central bedrooms to open to the gallery space, running alongside a Japanese Garden. The concealed Laundry door off the Gallery space has a view to the north while can be opened through the glazed sliding doors to the South also. Further connection to the Landscape is offered from slot windows within the Kitchen and Study, and the lower west window of the Master Bedroom. Additional finer details include a timber shelf and seat outside the powder room, various plastered shelves and ornament recesses and built in furniture, tailor made to invoke a sense of discovery and deliver another degree of functionality.


Efficient spatial planning with the ability to isolate different zones and large eaves were utilized to control the heating and cooling loads within the building throughout. The east glazing of the Living zone is also protected from hot summer sun by the hill of which the site forms part of, while east winter sun is filtered by the treed gully to the east. The internal-external concrete hearth-seat, and exposed galvanised steel edge beams, highlight part of the design methodology to honestly express the materials. A belief that buildings should stand for at least 50-100 years informed material selection and reacted against the recent culture to build from materials with a short life cycle.

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