Perched above the Great Ocean Road in seaside Lorne, Vicotria, Dorman Beach House makes the most of its steeply sloping site to frame views and create a serene beach house...
Designed by Studio101 Architects, Dorman Beach House rises out of the ashes of a previously burnt-out home. The owners were after a robust and low-maintenance home that shared the qualities they love in mid-century modern design. "The primary aims", explains Peter Woolard, founding director of Studio101 Architects, "were to re-establish the site back to its natural topography, incorporate an honest expression of materials and focus on capturing the spectacular ocean views."
With a steeply sloping site in an exposed coastal environment plus a bushfire risk, the home had to be hard-wearing, but also sensitive to the surrounding landscape. The home stretches lengthways down the hill, stepping down in unison with the landscape. Concrete blockwork and Silvertop Ash timber help the home to nestle into the site. The materials were chosen to be "a sustainable, fire-resistant and low-maintenance option to not only withstand the severe environment but also nestle within the native vegetation", says Peter.
The roofline slopes down towards the ocean, too, creating dramatic double-height spaces internally. The angle of the ceiling, raking with the roofline combined with the arrangement of spaces means your view is focussed towards the ocean from multiple places in the home. "Dressed Silvertop Ash with a prominent shiplap profile was detailed to accentuate the linear nature of the timber and lead one's eye along its length toward the ocean views."
The timber ceiling appears to float above the living areas thanks to clerestory windows wrapping all around, capturing views of the treetops or the crashing waves depending on your vantage point.
Spread over three levels, the home is separated into three connected zones: the living areas are on the middle level, main bedrooms suite on the lower level and guest bedrooms on the upper level. Rather than a formal entry foyer, the home has a much more casual approach (like any good beach house), where visitors are lead down a landscaped pathway with views unfolding as they move towards the entry deck. From there you enter the home via large sliding glass doors directly into the heart of the home, the central lounge space.
Spaces in the home are organised around and divided by two full-height concrete block pods which hide the wet areas and stairs. These pods are also extremely practical: the core-filled blockwork acts as part of the structure tying the home to the site. The effect of the pods is that light, space and views flow around the pods so spaces are connected to each other and views while still having their own sense of space. This blockwork is exposed inside and, in combination with the timber floors and ceilings, feels casual and coastal. The blockwork also provides excellent thermal mass to moderate the home's temperature.
The design of this stunning beach house maximises the potential of the challenging site, creating a calm and serene home which constantly focusses your attention on the surrounding ocean and natural landscape: exactly as a great beach house should. Studio101 Architects has managed to capture the spirit of mid-century modern design while creating a home that feels current and responds to its unique site. Just like the great design of mid-century period, Dorman Beach House is bound to stand the test of time.
Lower Level Floor Plan
Middle Level Floor Plan
Upper Level Floor Plan