Seaberg restores something of the ease of flow and material lightness long associated with, but now somehow lost from, the Australian beach house. Using living areas and the main bedroom suite as household core, and an extra couple of outhouses, freestanding but just touching by virtue of the pergolas, the ensemble hangs together in a loose arrangement to accommodate the many combinations of family life. Modest in scale and rectilinear in form the house recalls the kinds of smaller seaside dwellings that were once common to this part of Victoria’s coastline.
Stepped interior and exterior floor levels follow the fall of the site and enable sea views even from the sheltered, north facing rear. The front steps double up as seat/hangout and dumping ground for the paraphernalia of beach life – surfboards and so on. Perforated and slatted screens can be adjusted according to seasonal and climatic variation or to balance between a sense of exposure and protection. The design allows for significant cross-flow ventilation of sea breezes and rainwater harvesting while meeting the client brief that prioritized comfort, low maintenance and ease of use.
A deliberately restricted palette, the considered modulation of ply and cement sheet panels provide the only articulation to an otherwise restrained but relaxed architecture. The use of a conventional lightweight construction with a strategic/ targeted approach to detailing achieves value for money for a bespoke house.
Here’s to the return of the beach house
that actually feels like one.