Hughes Road Residence, Blairgowrie

Successful integration of the many complex elements of this building design makes it an Award winner

Vibe Design Group Pty Ltd won the award for Residential Design – New Houses over $1M Construction Cost in the BDAV’s 2009 Building Design Awards for their Hughes Road Residence, which is a striking, carefully composed and resolved project.

The clients wanted a new residence in Blairgowrie on the Mornington Peninsula, with a lap-pool to accommodate a family with three young children, and frequently visiting guests. They needed zoning for the privacy of all parties. As avid entertainers, the clients requested a billiard room and bar, and living spaces that flow effortlessly onto outdoor entertaining areas.

“Following research into the town planning zoning and overlays, and review of the site levels, we recommended to the clients that the site would be better suited to a contemporary styled design, to which they conclusively agreed,” said Vibe Design’s Michael O’Sullivan.

“The site fell approximately 8m from the rear of the block to the street boundary and offered spectacular views to the north-east. Some loss of privacy was possible from the habitable room windows and entertaining areas of the adjoining residence to the south-west on the lower part of the site.”

“Following a thorough site analysis, we decided to set the main living areas and bedroom wing, to be frequented by the family, on the higher, south-western side of the block, at the investigated level for maximum appreciation of the views. On this same level we introduced the billiard room and bar, separated from the main living area with a common powder room,” said Michael.

The fully serviced bar is complete with trap door to the cellar below. Upon opening the bi-fold doors, the main living area and billiard room flow seamlessly onto the generous outdoor entertaining area with lap pool elevated to this same floor level. An extreme line is created as the home reaches out to the coastal surroundings in parallel with the lap pool.

“The considered placement of the pool, with negative edge, offers the dual purpose of directing one’s eye to the views beyond, and protecting the privacy of both the home’s occupants and the private open space of the adjoining properties to the north-east, by controlling the line of sight.”

“Conscious of not being too elevated on the ridgeline, the overhanging rooflines step-down in unison with the natural fall of the land. Eave lines are specifically calculated using projected sun-angles for maximum penetration of sunlight in winter, and complete protection in summer. This, combined with the featured highlight louvre windows to capture cooling southwesterly winds, creates a comfortable thermal environment within the home all year round, with little need for mechanical heating and cooling,” Michael said.

“As the home steps down the block to comply with imposed ResCode and council height restrictions, the office/guest bedroom and gym are located on a slightly lower level with common ensuite. From a seated position, the inhabitant’s eye is at the same level as the swimming pool, and views are directed over the pool’s negative edge to the bay and coastal landscape beyond,” he said.

Accommodated directly beneath, and accessible via an internal flight of stairs, is the double garage, with generous storage space, and wine cellar. Given the land is cut through this lower storey area and retained with walls of thermal mass, the wine is stored at an optimum temperature. On approaching the property, visitors are greeted by an imposing sandstone pillar and a 4m cantilever on the lap pool before arriving at the entry gate. On admission, a journey begins up the deck stairs flanked by the swimming pool to the north-east and building to the south-west, before arriving at the collaboration and orchestration of cantilevered rooves.

“The building is elevated above a difficult site to maximise spectacular bay views. Resolution of access, functional planning, and the development of bold architectural forms have been integrated to create an outstanding design,” said the Judges.

“The building has a geometric articulated street façade; access is through a controlled journey that leads to an elevated timber lined terrace. The residence wraps around this terrace and, with the use of extensive bifold doors, allows the interior to seamlessly open into the exterior, clearly answering the clients brief for ‘effortlessly connecting the exterior with the interior’, the Judges said.

“A restrained palette of low maintenance materials has been selected to provide colour and texture in defining the building form, and complementing the natural environment. Passive solar control has been considered with designed eaves overhangs and high level controllable ventilation louvres. This residence would be a most exciting place in which to live! The successful integration of the many complex elements of this building design clearly makes this project a winner in this category,” concluded the Judges.


Designer:  Vibe Design Group Pty Ltd
Photographer: Robert Hamer

View from east of outdoor entertaining area
View from east of outdoor entertaining area - Images: Robert Hamer