West Coast House


Lynn Chew

Michelle Baker

This house occupies the top of a rural site with extensive views across Bass Strait and the Otways in Victoria. It comprises two primary gestures: a concrete block wall that rises up from the ground looping to form interior and exterior living spaces, and, nestled alongside this, a cedar box containing bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen.


The form was determined in part by the vicissitudes of the site – the location of a number of significant gum trees, very high rainfall and prevailing winds from the north-west and south-east against which the building’s length forms a protective shield. The building finds the path of least resistance through and over the site.

The building explores two primary concepts. The first seeks to develop an alternative relationship between architecture and the landscape. Rather than adopt the model of the pavilion in the bush, typical of much new Australian housing in the bush, the building is an act of enclosure. The building is not a closed object in a field but rather a ‘wall’ which weaves its way through and across the site, embracing and drawing the landscape into the building and vice versa to form a highly charged territory. This develops a more dynamic and integral relationship between architecture and landscape. For example a garden wall which is a landscape element grows, turns and loops to form an interior space, turns again and transforms once more into a garden wall.

Ground Floor Plan

Ground Floor Plan