Brise Soleil House

The namesake and defining feature of the Brise Soleil house is the undulating sun screen that wraps around the upper level of the dwelling. Set amongst the cliffs around Port Moresby, the property is subject to harsh heat during the day. The ‘Brise Soleil’, or sun shade, provides both a sculptural facade and welcome relief from the tropical sun. 


The grand gesture of the tropically set dwelling is the sculptural sun shade which wraps the upper level. Taking an undulating form on the front facade, the skin then flattens out to create an operable shade on the west facade. Intense direct sunlight is common in Papua New Guinea, so the shade provides both form and functional purpose. The full height shade can be manipulated to allow maximum exposure to views of the Coral Sea beyond. 

 

The screen is made from over 2000 individual acetylated Accoya Pine timbers. The form was designed digitally, which allowed the Gold Coast based studio to rigorously test the  variables, shape and effectiveness of the screen in a digitally replicated environment. The design was partly an exploration into the ability of modern software to provide a platform for complex geometry, and mass customisation. 

 

The digital information was then fed into a CNC machine, and accurately routed into the correct form. The pieces were then assembled into panels, and flat packed ready for shipping to PNG. Each piece has a uniquely configured notch which means they can only be fitted together as intended, with an organisational system allowing the workers to connect them simply and quickly. Scarce availability of skilled labour in PNG required the precise and complex design to have a simple installation system. The timber screen took 3 labourers approximately 2 days to install. 

 

Local timber crafting has been an important industry in PNG, particularly with canoe crafting. The design pays homage to the craft of intricate timber processes, as well as the longstanding equatorial expression of timber screens. 

 

The acetylated timber is a process that changes the chemical makeup of the wood, increasing it’s durability in external environments. 

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