Chateau de Reves was one of the first houses I designed on the Gold Coast back in 1998.

At the time I was the principal Architect of Pacific Projects Group (PPG), a Gold Coast based architectural practice specializing in prestige residential and resort projects throughout Australasia and the Pacific.

It was a wonderful opportunity being given free rein to design a new home befitting a spectacular Gold Coast waterfront island location. The unconventional 3070m2 fan-shaped site, was created through the amalgamation of four adjoining residential blocks which face primarily due south, offering dramatic views straight up the Broadwater to the Surfers Paradise skyline.

The client was looking for a cutting edge international quality design with architectural vision that would compare favourably with the best prestige projects he and his wife had experienced in their extensive global travels. The brief also clearly established that they wanted a very large house incorporating features more typically found in a boutique resort than in a traditional residential home, so I approached the design methodology on that basis.

The first stage involved the creation of a schedule identifying all the internal and external spaces desired and their respective functions. Indicative sizes were then allocated to each of these areas which when combined with a percentage ratio for circulation, culminated in an approximate building size. This allowed me to confirm that the site size was appropriate for the intended purpose, and then by applying indicative construction rates, established a preliminary budget.

A detailed site analysis taking into account the positive and negative attributes of the site was then prepared. Consideration was given to orientation in relation to solar access, prevailing winds, views, privacy, vehicular and pedestrian access. Planning constraints on height, setbacks, site cover and density also needed to be identified.

Concept spatial planning could now begin. A series of hand drawn bubble diagrams representing each individual space to proportional scale determined the preferred location and inter relationship of rooms at each level. This was then developed into a massing model considering room volumes, voids, circulation and interconnection between levels.

This ensured all living, and bedrooms were given priority to the water views, kitchen and breakfast dining areas positioned to capture the eastern morning sun, whilst the entertaining areas including bar, and alfresco dining, swimming pools were located to the west for afternoon sun and evening sunset views over the hinterland.

With the key planning decisions now made, the true creative design process could begin.

The key to successful architecture is the ability to marry functional planning with aesthetic form. In this case drawing reference from many factors including the coastal location, the client’s nautical background and the fan shaped block, an organic curved arc building form evolved which presented a private modest scale building to the street, whilst opening up expansively to the waterfront aspect.

The room bubble diagrams were developed into defined shapes co-ordinated with internal vertical planning and external façade design to complete the sketch design stage.

Designed at a time when 3D computer modelling was only in its infancy, hand drawn 3D perspectives to illustrate the final design intent to the client were produced.

The design intent now fundamentally established allowed for the detailed design process to commence, incorporating the input of numerous specialist consultants. A project of this scale and complexity involved structural, electrical, mechanical and hydraulic engineers, landscape architects, interior and lighting designers. Their respective designs were carefully co-ordinated with the architecture and interior design, as hand drawn sketches gave way to hardline scaled drawings.

A scale model was then commissioned with lift-off roofs and floors to expose the internal rooms complete with model furniture and scale people. Since many people have difficulty relating 2 dimensional drawings to 3 dimensional spaces, a physical model was an ideal tool allowing the client to understand the relative sizes of the spaces.

The creative design process was now substantially completed.

A dedicated inhouse team of architects, draftspersons, and interior designers working in conjunction with the other specialist design consultants took over 9 months to complete the design and documentation for the house, creating a comprehensive set of several hundred large format construction drawings and thousands of pages of specification documents that allowed the architectural vision to become a reality.

See the Chateau de Reves gallery here:

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