The earth-filled concrete plates of Bunkeren by James Stockwell are placed on a coastal site in Whitebridge, a southern suburb of Newcastle, on unceded lands of the Awabakal people.
Architect collaborated with Danish-Australian clients with an eye for design on this fascinating study of concrete textures and forms. In addition to these references, the project contains subtle nods to architectural references.
A memory of the ruins of military fortresses in his hometown of Albany inspired the architect. In contrast, his clients remembered time spent around decaying World War II bunkers along the Danish coast. A number of these influences are evident in the project, not only in its material palette and exterior form but also in its decision about the siting and interior design.
Almost completely hidden from the street, the building's entrance and main bedroom are the only traces visible. The roof gardens contain species such as Allocasuarina, prostrate banksia, and Xanthorrhoea, which mimic the surrounding bushland.
On the upper level, a curved concrete wall screens off the main bedroom, ensuite, and walk-in robe, guiding visitors down the stairs to the ground floor. The ground floors of Bunkeren unfold gradually down the slope, simultaneously registering as both on and within the ground.