Sometimes, even the most extraordinary locations call for a simple architectural solution. The plan of Great Ocean Road House is like a puzzle piece designed to fit on the site and maximize the best of a spectacular ocean view, while protecting against extreme weather and traffic noise from the busy Great Ocean Road. Ultimately it's almost a diagram -- Stretching living areas out to the view, while protecting bedrooms from the noise at the rear of the site. In between, sheltered outdoor spaces are nestled between the two wings.
The house is designed as semi-permanent residence for a couple with three adult children. For maximum flexibility, it is zoned to allow half the house to be closed off when. One owner is a writer and the other a keen surfer. The exposure of the site puts the occupants in the centre of the dramatic weather changes of the coast -- a stimulating refuge, while still being a casual basic beach house.
The clever plan achieves ocean views from every room, private and protected outdoor spaces, protection from the worst of the summer sun. It achieves all this on a very small actual footprint which is sensitive to the coastal site.
The simple, graying timber form will slowly fade and disappear into the surrounding ti-trees. The aging of the external materials will give the building a history with fading silver-top ash and semi rusted steel shading screens streaking black stains on walls and decks.
Warmth of Ply
Inside is all hoop-pine ply. A spine shelving wall runs the length of the house to maximize storage. Simple, basic materials and finishes are used throughout, tough enough for sandy feet and surfboards, but soft and warm enough to feel homely. It's a home purposely designed to be subservient to its exposed coastal environment.
Connection to Site
The built form is crucially linked to the site and surrounding environment. Fairhaven is a typical west (Victorian) coast (mainly beach house) community, with a range of dwellings from older basic shacks to multi-million dollar clifftop mansions. The simple basic forms of the Great Ocean Road House are a nod to the former -- when beach houses were unpretentious occasional homes, rather than aping “the lifestyles of the rich and famous”. Although not a humble dwelling, its materials, form and siting are consciously subservient to its dramatic location.
The landscaper designed a sympathetic layout, with all indigenous plants, with flowing graphic lines complimenting the rectilinear building. The elevated base of the house will eventually disappear into the undergrowth, leaving a very sheltered private living space under.