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The Gull House floats above Paterson Lane in Byron Bay. The House has views to the east over Tallow beach and to the north over the Bay.

BUILDER | Anthony Adams

ARCHITECT | Harley Graham Architects



Predominantly in lightweight construction the different forms of the house connect with a combination of natural hardwood and fibre cement cladding. Complex shapes hover in the air and slowly stagger down the hill. External materials move from outside to inside. One of the major factors in the design of the house is privacy from the many surrounding houses. The use of solid balconies and screens give the house the feeling of a sanctuary even though it has neighbours all round. The house has no air conditioning, makes use of natural ventilation, and has all living spaces with a northerly aspect. We were reading ‘Jonathon Livingston Seagull’ in the office while designing this house.

The House adds to the fabric of old and new beach houses in a densely populated knoll in the middle of Byron Bay. It was part of a 2 house development encouraging a form of residential density in the middle of coastal towns that is necessary to avoid sprawl on the edges of communities. the clients are so happy with the privacy that the house affords while still having access to amazing views. The Engineers at Westera did an amazing job, look at that corner up top with no structure! and only a few thin 70mm round columns supporting all that roof! All in all it was one of those projects that was fun all the way with only a few minor hiccups. We all think that the Clients have received a hell of a lot of house and detailing for 900K. the project only went 8% over budget. It has ended up with a lot of 'Hi Fives' between clients, builder and architect and we are already planning the next one!

Hardwood timber has been used throughout and in the initial design phase it was conceived as a ‘seagull’ floating above a timber platform. Blackbutt internal flooring, Spotted Gum External Decking and cladding over 50% of the house give the home its warmth, its contrast, and anchor it to the site.


The house has no air conditioning, instead making use of natural ventilation, with all living spaces having a northerly aspect. The house runs on a five-kilowatt solar system with battery back up. All roof water is recycled into two 10,000 litre tanks, filtered, and fed back into the whole house for every purpose, from drinking water to toilet flushing. It is a new house that proves that contemporary houses don’t have to be ‘energy sucking beasts’ in the way they work throughout the year.