This Australian Seaside Unipod Design is a Surfer’s Dream House

Tama’s Tee Home is an open plan design made with a myriad of contemporary design essentials, located in the beach suburb of Tamarama, in Sydney, Australia. Its lead architects, Luigi and Raffaello Rosselli, designed a unipod building which could stand on a pre-existing structure, and in doing so, sought to create a structure that would stand the test of time in the otherwise constantly changing hillside by the sea.


Being by the sea, the outside of Tama’s Tee Home features marine grade roofing materials to protect against decay. Its seamless off-white concrete and glass combination make it an enlightening modern architectural design. Its ambitious, minimalist exterior structure is reinforced with ceiling joists which have traditional criss-cross braces to ensure coherence with the overall design.


The innovations continue inside, wherein residents can enjoy sea views in a light, airy space filled with further design gems and timber floor. Luigi Rosselli Architect’s design is a refined inside space that creates an almost meditative impression on its visitors.

Residents can enjoy the fresh sea air out on a carrara marble table in summer. Meanwhile, in winter the Roscharch Blotch fireplace keeps the house cosy and warm. The space is also lifted by Pierre Paulin’s The Oyster Chair. The space also features an Oracle pendant by Christopher Boots.


Project architect Raffaello took some time to talk to THE PLUS about Tama’s Tee Home.

THE PLUS: What was the fundamental concept behind the design? What did you want to achieve?
Raffaello Rosselli:
The beach is so fundamental to the Australian life and identity. Typical Australian beach houses were simple white structures made from timber weatherboard cladding. These buildings were built simply and impertinently. The design explores the concept of a robust modern beach house. The near white concrete, references the light tones of traditional beach side structures, while the use of weatherboards as formwork imprints in the concrete the texture of the archetypal weatherboard house.


TP: How did you design the unipod shape?
Tama’s Tee Home was constructed on what was solid and reusable from the previous house. Approximately fifty-percent of the previous structure was kept, including the large sandstone retaining wall to the front of the home and the garage beneath.  The new concrete ‘Tee’ structure to the front of the house was designed so that it would rest on the single point of the garage structure below that would bear the weight; this explains the ‘unipod’ shape to the front façade of the home and the need to provide it with a solid concrete structure.


TP: Was the pre-existing garage a limitation? Did you make any alterations to the garage?
The pre-existing garage wasn’t a limitation and forms part of the character of the streetscape and home; Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs are characterised by steep sandstone escarpments that fall away to the ocean, so the homes built on these slopes all have some kind of retaining wall or structure, often made from the sandstone quarried on site, at street level to provide stable surfaces for building.  Few alterations were made to the garage besides making it accessible from inside the house.


TP: If you lived in Tama’s Tee Home, where do you think you would spend most of your time?
The main living area balcony looking over the ocean. It is a lovely space that is protected from the predominant winds, with expansive views of the ocean just below and the salty smell of surf spray in the air.

TP: Were the clients happy?
The clients are delighted with their new home.

TP: The colour palette is very well balanced, especially with the timber floor. What considerations came into play when creating the colour palette?
The colour palette was chosen with the client and the beachside location played a large influence in the colour choices; the colours are evocative of the beach without being clichéd.


TP: What do you like about residential projects?
For many Australian’s the beach is ultimate symbol of leisure and relaxation, blurring the line of beach and living is a shared interest of ours, and it is a pleasure to further refine this through others.

TP: You mention having a humanist approach when it comes to architecture. What do you think is the most important thing architects should embrace about the humanist approach today?
To design with a humanist approach is to aim for your designs to be the “Architecture of Happiness”.  That is to say, Architects should embrace the idea of how their designs affect those who come into contact with them physically and psychologically, rather than being preoccupied with form, materials and professional trends.


Concept & Site:
lower ground

Photo credit: Prue Ruscoe, Edward Birch