Coastal Exposure

Designers By Nature

With an aesthetic of, as the designer says, a ‘washed up crate’, this house rests quietly at the top of a sand dune and, indeed, the building embodies the feeling of walking up a sand dune to catch the first glimpse of the ocean as one reaches the top. Located in an enviable position with unimpeded ocean views, the house climbs up a bluestone rubble ‘groin’ from the road, with under-croft garaging supporting a cantilevered bedroom wing alongside an open-tread timber entry stair. The entry is defined by light coloured rendered walls – the only solid tone walls of the house – and an impressive cantilevered roof that floats above the main roof of the house, connecting the box-like forms as they reach the top of the dune. Walls are of carefully detailed timber cladding with exposed framing, intended to weather naturally, and bluestone-like masonry. A concealed flat roof allows the box-like forms to predominate, and large section weathered timber columns support the entry roof. Windows are understated aluminium. The plan addresses the exposed siting, with outdoor areas located to take into account the changing weather patterns. A north-facing terrace adjoins the main bedroom and entry areas; a large courtyard sheltered by the living area has views of the ocean through that space, and an amphitheatre hunkers down into the top of the dune within timber retaining walls at the south-east corner. Simple interiors and cleverly placed windows ensure that the ongoing drama of the ocean is the main feature. Windows frame views and are provided in functional modules that fit neatly into the crate-like timber cladding, emphasising the views from strategically placed picture windows and maintaining a comforting sense of shelter from ocean winds. The house is particularly successful as an addition to a delicate landscape, presenting to the beach as a simple weathered timber box with the sunken amphitheatre being the only outdoor area facing the ocean. Lawn covers the top of the dune, and taller native grasses provide soft focus at the edges. Timber planters support low grey-green coastal species at the base of the walls. The designer is to be commended for creating a finely crafted, sophisticated but understated house which provides a high degree of comfort and delight for the occupants while treating its setting with great respect.

3 awards

Residential Design: New Houses $500K-$1M

What a site, what a house! This site called for an inspired design which interacted and respected an amazing location on the beach front with the dunes falling away from the ocean.


The approach to this building and its inspiring use of timber and mutual tones blends perfectly into the surrounding environment stepping up to the beach front beyond. The timber cladding design provides a hint of the old coastal shacks which once adorned Victoria’s coast line, while the rocky bluestone groin picks up on the natural stone of this area. This dwelling unfolds before you as you follow the staircase from the lower approach up to the main entry area where carefully framed views of the southern ocean lie beyond.


The floorplan has been carefully considered, with interconnecting spaces flowing freely between the kitchen, dining, main living area and the outdoor sheltered courtyard. All these areas capture framed views back to the ocean and beachfront beyond, while maintaining a sense of privacy.


A great house calls for a considered approach to address the site topography, the prevailing weather conditions, the use of materials, adjoining structures and landscape, the built form and massing. This building has considered and responded with the above elements to create an exceptionally well-designed and planned house and it is the worthy winner of this category.













Excellence in Use of Glass

This carefully crafted house was nominated by the Judges for this award for the manner in which glazing has been considered as an integral part of the whole. Despite breathtaking coastal views, the clichés of full height, uninterrupted sheets of glass have been avoided and, in their stead, picture windows and a series of vertically oriented windows have been neatly slotted between the exposed framing of the external walls. The rhythmic pattern of these windows serves almost to freeze-frame the views, providing a build-up of tension and excitement which makes the picture windows all the more spectacular. Simple interior treatments ensure that the windows and the views they offer remain at centre stage.

    • 2016 Winner

Battery Point

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    • 2012 Winner

Mountain View

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    • 2012 Commendation

Old Dairy Town

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