Bilgola Beach Pavilion – An Extension to Soak Up Beach Side Views

This extension to a house on Bilgola Beach in New South Wales acts as a pavilion that attempts to connect the occupants with the lush surroundings.


The project, titled Bilgola Beach Pavilion, was completed in 2018 by local architecture studio, Matthew Woodward Architecture. The project was led by Matthew Woodward himself and Nicholas Papas.



The extension makes up three living spaces and has a total area of 861-square-feet (80-square-meters). At that size, the extension could have acted as a standalone house, but it’s not what the clients wanted. Instead, they wanted a space for art and family gatherings.



From the architect: “Situated on the foothills of Bilgola Beach in Sydney’s north, the pavilion emerges over a sloping meadow of heritage-listed Cabbage Tree Palms. The clients’ brief was to create opportunities for art-making and family gathering.”


Introducing the extension was no easy task. The design firstly had to meet the expectations of the client, but the structure itself also had to carefully navigate a series of existing heritage-listed palm trees.


From the architects: “Our response was to celebrate these palms. Like slender stalks, the lightweight pavilion floats gently over the clearing on steel columns. The building is scalloped into two bays around an existing palm so that the tree is integral in defining space and program between the living room and studio.”


The resulting structure sits quite snugly into the environment. Its height, relative to the surrounding trees, helps prevent it from overpowering the landscape. Consideration has also been given to local environmental concerns, for example, the materials employed in the pavilions construction are all fire-resistant in-keeping with bushfire flame-zone requirements.


The interior of the extension is quite minimalist: the kitchenette, and other storage areas, are hidden from view behind embedded units. From the architect: “The success of the pavilion lies in its veneration towards the Cabbage Tree Palms. This harmonious connection to place enables an experience of tranquil calm that fulfills the aspirations of the clients’ beach-side home.”

For more small houses check out Melbourne Vernacular, a hundred-year-old workers cottage that gets an eco-friendly makeover. Or, this modest house extension by Taylor Knight in Brunswick West. See all small houses.

Photos © Brett Boardman Photography

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.

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