From Bush Shack To Bruny Island Stunner!

Bruny island is Tasmania’s worst kept secret. A short drive and ferry trip out of Hobart, and boasting a cheese factory, oysters and outrageously beautiful views – it is now attracting visitors at a rate that is beginning to threaten the natural beauty and isolation that makes it so popular.

For the owners of this Apollo Bay House, the lure of island living was the reward for a difficult build in an isolated location! This renovated bush shack by Dock 4 Architects is transformed into a four bedroom home, where the landscape takes centre stage.

Miriam McGarry
Supports The Design Files

Welcome to the Apollo Bay House by Dock 4 Architects. Photo – Adam Gibson.

An a-frame structure with a clean view through to the Derwent River. Photo – Adam Gibson.

A double heigh open plan living area brings light and life into the renovated home. Photo – Adam Gibson.

Views of Mt Wellington in the distance. Photo – Adam Gibson.

The living areas open out to decks, to increase the connection to the outdoors. Photo – Adam Gibson.

The renovation increases the connection to the surrounding bushland and bay below. Photo – Adam Gibson.

Living room and kitchen details in the Apollo Bay House. Photo – Adam Gibson.

The A-frame gently mimics a tent shape, and responds to the steeply sloping site. Photo – Adam Gibson.

A facade of glass to maximise those dreamy views! Photo – Adam Gibson.

Miriam McGarry
8th of August 2019

The Apollo Bay House is located on the sloping banks of Bruny Island, on a steep site that spills down towards the waterfront. The clients approached Richard Loney of Dock 4 Architects with a brief to transform the existing two-bedroom shack into a four bedroom home.

Richard explains that this renovation was achieved in ‘three moves’. Firstly, to push upwards to create a second storey that follows the pitched room form. Secondly, to wrap a ‘tent-like’ skin over the existing structure. And lastly, to pull the living space down towards the bay. Up, wrap, down – the architectural tango!

The moves both ‘up’ to the second storey and ‘down’ to the waterfront help to create a greater connection to the surrounding landscape. Richard highlights how the new design crosses ‘the line between inside and out, through the use of multiple sheltered platforms and a strong visual connection to the outside.’ The strong internal lines create framing devices, to capture different views looking back to ‘mainland’ Tasmania and the silhouette of kunanyi/Mt Wellington.

The A-line structure continues the original form the shack, and gently mimics a tent form. The steep western side is shrouded in a triple walled polycarbonate, and clad with black timber battens. From the outside, this dark palette sinks into the bushy surrounds – and from the inside offers a sense of both shelter and connection.

While island living offers an escape and sense of beautiful isolation, it can also present logistical building difficulties. Before you consider renovation a Bruny shack, keep in mind Richard’s warning that ‘building on an island is always tricky, both in time and cost.’ But it seems only fair that you should have to work a little harder to be rewarded with views like this!

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