The clients of this Mornington Peninsula, Victoria home lived on site for 10 years prior to its recent major transformation. Their experiences and local knowledge—particularly in terms of seasonal weather patterns and views—informed the new house design by Wolveridge Architects and surrounding landscape by Sam Cox Landscape.
Wolveridge’s design takes its cues from the new and existing landscape. The house needed to be embedded in the site, provide a northerly aspect to a range of living spaces, and capture long range views down to Western Port Bay.
‘Lots of water’ was the brief provided to Sam Cox. ‘This was as much about creating a point of interest and reflection as it was about having somewhere to cool off,’ he says.
The landscape replaces a demolished tennis court with a new wetlands comprising a natural swimming pool (by Natural Swimming Pools Australia) that extends to a 350 square metre pond.
Natural swimming pools—which provide a similar experience to swimming in a natural waterhole—have become somewhat of a signature in Sam’s projects.
‘The growing interest in natural swimming pools is not surprising. Throwing industrial chemicals into our environment to be “clean” doesn’t make much sense these days,’ he says. ‘The water in a natural pool is alive, it has a velvety feel.’
Granite boulders are interspersed throughout the site to blur boundaries and make levels and transitions appear natural.
‘Working with water on this scale meant it was important to find a balance. I referenced the Japanese use of water in temple gardens: bold, but understated, and in relation to the surrounding landscape,’ says Sam.
The natural landscape is reflected indoors through a robust palette of granite stone from the local quarry and rich Australian hardwoods. Castlemaine slate bridges the connection between external and internal spaces, which are lined with messmate tongue and groove boards.
As the materials patina and the landscape matures, the house and garden will increasingly become one.
The completed project is not only home to the clients, but plenty of local wildlife that have established themselves in the new wetlands. ‘When I receive videos of a chorus of frogs in the evening, it makes me smile,’ says Sam.