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The Australian Beach House, Redux

Architecture

Scrolling through the images of today’s home immediately makes us think of the 1990s ABC TV classic SeaChange. But this is no Diver Dan style shack – the Seaberg property by Kerstin Thompson Architects on the Mornington Peninsula takes inspiration from the iconic Australian beach house, reimagined in a deconstructed form.

We chat with Kerstin about bringing the light-filled qualities and spatial flow of the Aussie beach house into this innovative design. We just can’t help thinking of Sigrid Thorton and humming the SeaChange theme tune lyrics ‘the smell of salty air is what I’m chasing’ under our breaths as we dream of switching city life for a Mornington Peninsula getaway!

17th October, 2018

The Seaberg house by Kerstin Thompson. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

In Mornington, Victoria. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 17th October 2018

When first embarking on this project on the Mornington Peninsula, Kerstin Thompson and team were interested in returning to the key qualities of the iconic Australian beach house, and responding directly to the site to produce an innovative design. Kerstin describes that the Seaberg House ‘restores something of the ease of flow and material lightness long associated with, but now somehow lost from, the Australian beach house.’

This sense of flow is primarily achieved through a reconsideration of the overall form. Rather than a conventional layout of rooms and hallways, Seaberg is anchored by a central space of living areas and master bedrooms, surrounded by an assemblage of loosely connected freestanding outhouses. Overhanging pergolas create linkages between the discreet units, and a sense of cohesion across the site.

This malleability of form offers a softness and fluidity here, in contrast to the strong architectural lines that run throughout the building. These timber beams, frames and slatted screens conjure a crosshatching of shadows and bring texture and drama to the space. The slatted screens also provide the option for adaptable configurations, to adjust to changing weather or privacy requirements.

Kerstin champions this project as ‘the return of the beach house that actually feels like one.’ With it’s robust timber cladding throughout, and space at the entrance for jumping out of a wetsuit, this house has the feeling of a simple beach shack, but looks like a whole new approach to seaside living.

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