Philip Island House


Location: Philip Island
Type: New Build
Stage: Complete

This project is a modern interpretation of the fibro ‘Beach Shack’ that we designed for our friends, their two children and their extended family. The house is set amongst the tea trees and banksias of the Silverleaves foreshore. The plan is arranged over two split levels, addressing the terraced contours of the site. The entrance, bedrooms and bathrooms sit to the south, at the site’s highest point, there is a break in the roof plane to allow for high level windows to serve these spaces. As you move through the house you step down into the kitchen and primary living areas which open out on to a north facing deck and the rear garden.

Both the north and south elevations feature a ‘depression’ in to which the openings are placed. This affords shading to the window seats and establishes an asymmetry in the plan that determines the placement of the central corridor and the apportioning of the rooms. Furthermore, it stuck us as a necessary corruption of the ‘pure’ box.

As is often the case with projects of this nature the budget was incredibly tight. Accordingly, we decided the project needed to be square in plan and could only afford to have two ‘real’ elevations – this at least sat well with narrowness of the site and its dominant north-south axis. We made pragmatic choices regarding the material palette. Externally, galvanised metal sheet accounts for most of the cladding but is punctuated by silver top ash lining boards to the ‘depressions’ to the north and south elevations. Internally, we used and engineered timber floor boards to the living areas with the occasional ‘highlight’ such as the lining boards to living room and kitchen.  By the end of the design process we arrived at a very lean plan, which priortised the main living spaces over the bedrooms, and that had managed to achieve an accommodation between the restrictions of the budget and the necessary generosity of a beach house.