Balancing tranquility with stone cold functionality is a careful and precarious task. But that’s the paradox of nature too, sometimes harsh and sometimes forgiving, yet somehow always sublime. The same goes for this unyielding beach house in Blairgowrie, which braves the elements with both rigour and respect.
Planned Living Architects approached the brief by first embracing the challenging position. ‘The raw and exposed location was the catalyst for the design,’ says director, Jay Earles. The site is so exposed to the elements that something sturdy and durable was needed to withstand the weathered vantage point. ‘First and foremost the vision was to create a sense of place, protection and relaxation for the inhabitants.’ It was to be a sanctuary, not a bunker.
Despite the ruggedness of the coastline and the need for protection from the weather, both the client and architects wanted to highlight the natural beauty of tea-tree shrouded landscape and sublime ocean views. Extensive, large-scale windows enable sweeping natural views in all directions, so a seamless connection to the outdoors can be knit together with clever zoning and spatial planning.
Shielding the dwelling from the elements is a palette of robust concrete, that blankets the house both inside and out, while blond timber balances its potentially overwhelming density. The prime example of this monolithic material is the 8-metre high concrete blade wall at the entry, while required complex engineering and a lot of on-site planning between the architects and builders (Made Build) for its installation. Alongside Made Build, landscape architects ACRE Studio tamed the wild surrounds on the block and interior designers Studio Tom conceptualised the contemporary interiors.
The end result here is a home with a stoic, strong presence, that embraces its rugged surroundings with a surprising sense of serenity. As Jay describes, this is a home that offers ‘the simultaneous feeling of exposure provided by the southern aspect of Bass Strait, in contrast to the feeling of warmth and protection offered on the sunny northern decks overlooking the Peninsula and beyond.’