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Friday, May 30, 2008

nice beach house

” Only an architectural enthusiast would endeavor to build a home on this extremely steep site at Separation Creek, above Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. With a forty-five degree incline, the property challenged both the owners and architects, Jackson Clements Burrows (JCB) Architects. ‘Most of the one hectare site was too steep to build on. Only a few hundred square metres offered space for a building,’ says architect Graham Burrows, one of three directors of the practice.
With a base footprint of approximately seven by nine metres, the new house appears to grow out of the dirt landscape like a tree. Rooms extend like branches from the central core, or ‘trunk’, reaching for the light and views over Bass Strait. ‘We wanted to create a dynamic sculptural object. But we also wanted to take advantage of the views,’ says Burrows.
Designed for a couple with two young children, the brief was for a simple beach house, something relaxed and unpretentious. The rooms on the first floor extend beyond the trunk, cantilevered from three to six metres above the site. The rooms at ground level, with separate access, include two bedrooms, a bathroom, laundry and storage. And on the first floor, via a staircase made from broad timber sleepers, are the kitchen and living areas. Between the two levels are the main bedroom and ensuite. ‘Each room focuses on different parts of the site. I suppose the heroic shot is from the terrace off the living area,’ says Burrows, pointing out the Wye River Peninsula in the distance.

There are few divisions in the open plan living areas. One partially enclosed area is the study, adjacent to the entrance. However even this room is relatively transparent, featuring green louvres, adding colour as well as channelling the sea breezes. At night the study sheds a greenish glow throughout the living areas. Louvred glass windows also appear in the ‘pop-out’ above the kitchen. ‘We wanted to draw hot air from the house in the warmer months and also wanted to attract the northern light, as well as the views up the hillside,’ says Burrows.

Cantilevered rooms also provide protected nooks for the children to play outside. One of the most used parts of the property is the sandpit, directly below the sunroom. Concealed by a timber deck when not being used, the area also includes built-in benches for relaxed parental supervision. ‘This area reminds me of the outdoor spaces that were popular in the 1950s. Then children were encouraged to play outdoors,’ says Burrows.

This beach house is relatively modest in scale at approximately 190 sq m. It doesn’t scream out to the many motorists who wind their way along this stretch of the Great Ocean Road. In fact, from one direction, the discreet design means it’s unlikely to be detected at all. For this family, it’s all about the spectacular location, where the rugged bush meets the sea. And the architecture, although quiet in appearance, is just as exhilarating.”
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