Sitting on a dramatic slope in a southern suburb of Newcastle, Australia, ‘Bunkeren’ is a sleek and modern five-bedroom home immersed in greenery and boasting views of the South Pacific Ocean. Half-buried and carved out of stone, the residence is a captivating study of concrete textures, forms, and shapes, designed by James Stockwell Architect.
Inspired by the architect’s and the client’s shared fascination for military fortresses and hidden coastal bunkers in Europe and Australia, the residence is made of concrete volumes and platforms half-buried in the hillside and hovering just beyond its edge. Protected from unobtrusive eyes and perfectly camouflaged in the bushland—save for the residence’s entrance and main bedroom—the property has an intriguing L-shaped plan with ample communal and private spaces unfolding gradually down the slope in a sequence of floors that register as both above the ground and within it. These include a kitchen, dining and living spaces stretching out towards the ocean, as well as five bedrooms, bathrooms and a studio. Distinctive outdoor architectural elements include an impressive raised concrete pool, an outdoor shower, wide balconies, and roof gardens that mimic the surrounding greenery through abundant lush native plants. Throughout the house, floor-to-ceiling windows let natural light pour into the different spaces, creating bewitching plays of light on the beautifully crafted concrete walls. On the lowest floor, the latter come to rest completely on rock and earth, instilling an instantly rustic and intimate ambience. Pared-back and elegant, interiors are characterized by natural wood, earth textures, and simple retro and design pieces of furniture, which infuse the otherwise Brutalist building with a hygge and welcoming Danish warmth.