St Andrews Beach House on the Mornington Peninsula Residence, Victoria Residential Development Images
St Andrews Beach House, Mornington Peninsula
Modern Round Home in Victoria, Australia – design by Austin Maynard Architects
21 Mar 2019
St Andrews Beach House
Design: Austin Maynard Architects
Location: Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia
Less than five metres in radius, St Andrews Beach House is an object in the land-scape. A Euclidean form set amongst the rough and sandy terrain it provides – in modest form – everything you would need and want in a beach shack.
The Basic Brief
Australians have some of the biggest houses in the world and holiday houses are increas-ingly becoming carbon copies of the suburban home. The owner of St Andrews Beach House recognised this. He challenged us to design him a ‘bach’ – a New Zealand word used to describe a very modest, small and basic shack, or shed.
Located on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, St Andrews Beach has no shopping strip and no restaurants. There’s a corner store, a brewery, and not much else. What it does offer is serenity and seclusion, a wildly beautiful coastline, and some of the most celebrated residential architecture in Australia. The owner was fortunate enough to own land abutting national parkland, close to the foreshore and directly within the sand dunes.
Circles And Roundabouts
St Andrews Beach House is a two storey circular holiday home that takes advantage of the remoteness of site and expansive views, which extend in all directions. The house stands alone, in amongst wild bush, rugged sand dunes and scrub.
The location is fragile and the house respectfully integrates into the environment. With no neighbouring forms to respond to, the brief – to design a modest, two-bedroom beach house, was freely imag-ined.
The shape of the house grew from a response to the views and the simplification of the interior spaces. At St Andrews Beach House there are no corridors. Corridors and circula-tion space are, in our view, a waste. A corridor free home lends itself to a circular design.
To The Beach And Bach
Beach houses exist for simple relaxation, an escape from the city, for quietude and down-time with family and friends. It should provide contrast from day-to-day normality, be su-per low maintenance, relatively self-sustaining and basic, but not without simple creature comforts.
Australians have some of the biggest houses in the world and, increasingly so, Australian holiday houses are becoming carbon copies of the suburban home. Simple shacks are re-placed with oversized structures that are all too literally a-home-away-from-home.
The owner of St Andrews Beach House recognised this. In his brief he would frequently use the term ‘bach’ – a word used in New Zealand to describe the rough and ready beach shacks built mostly in the mid century from found and recycled materials.
Regardless of how much money you’ve made, you get yourself a bach, and that bach has to be the most basic, down-to-earth thing. The owner challenged us to design and build him a ‘bach’ in the dunes.
A Circle In The Sand
Less than five metres in radius, St Andrews Beach House is an object in the landscape. A Euclidean form set amongst the rough terrain. The plan of the house is generated using the rational and precise geometry, as the circle extrudes into a tube.
The internal spaces are generated by a tightly controlled plan adhering to the rules of form, guiding and ar-ranging segments that divide the space, with a spiral staircase as its central core, provid-ing light and air but also snug spaces.
The house displays an innovative use of timber, with chunky details and exposed portal frames. This is not a slick beach house, but a re-laxed and informal escape, designed with materials that will patina and weather, like an old coastal wharf.
The house has multiple outlooks. Without a dominant orientation there is no need for a front, back and sides, St Andrew Beach House is all front. The ground floor comprises of kitchen, living and dining, with a bathroom and a laundry. An open deck area, within the tube, unites the spaces when the bi-fold doors are opened.
Most Australians want a deck or veranda, instead of adding something to the outside, like that of the classic old Australian home, at St Andrews Beach House the deck has been eroded out of the form itself, creating a two story space that’s both outside and inside.
Wherever I Lay My Head, That’s My Bed
A central spiral staircase leads upstairs to the bathroom and bedroom zone. Unlike a tradi-tional bedroom layout, the upstairs sleeping area is essentially one bunk room, separated by curtains. (The space can also function as a second living or games room.)
Rather than design a series of sealed bedrooms, each with ensuite and walk-in-robe, the sleeping zone at St Andrews Beach House is informal, casual and relaxed, where floor space is the only limitation. And when that limitation is reached, guests are invited to pitch a tent on the soft sand outside and use the house as a central hub.
A single cylinder concrete water tank acts as a gateway marker to the beach house, from here onwards you leave cars, the road, your troubles and everything else behind. Though the building is precise, following the rigid geometry of a circle, staying here provides a complete escape from regular life.
Not adhering to a typical layout allows you, if not forces you, to live differently. With a standard home arrangement (a long corridor, with rooms leading off etc) everyone knows how to use the spaces, a circular home with strong open connections horizontally and diagonally throughout, serves to both engage and liberate.
St Andrews Beach House stands at less than five metres in radius, creating a very small footprint amongst the dunes. Like all of Austin Maynard Architects buildings, sustainability is at the core of this project. The materials used are robust and designed to weather. Pas-sive solar principals are maximised by the design.
All windows are double-glazed. Solar panels with micro-inverters cover the roof providing electric hydronic- no fossil fuels, no gas. A large cylinder concrete water tank collects rainwater, captured and reused to flush toilets and water the garden.
The block had been previously cleared and connected to the road for services. Construc-tion was difficult as shifting sands required deep footings. Landscaping and retaining the existing fauna was especially important to minimise sand blasting caused by wind.
St Andrews Beach House, Mornington Peninsula – Building Information
Architect: Austin Maynard Architects
Project team: Andrew Maynard, Mark Austin, Ray Dinh
Builder: Spence Construction
Landscape Designer: Jane Burke, Bush Restoration
Engineer: Perret Simpson
Building surveyor: Steve Watson & Partners
Energy Consultant: Efficient Energy Choices
Land Surveyor: Steve Palmer Surveys
Site area: 8304 sqm
Total house area: 139 sqm (ground floor 78 sqm / first floor 61 sqm)
Completion date: December 2018
Spiral Stair: Enzie Universal series 1500
Timber Cladding Boards: Shiplap timber lining boards, Silvertop Ash
Finish External: Intergrain DWD Natural Stain in Clear
Finish Internal: Whittle Wax Hardwax Oil Classic, Satin finish
Strip Timber Flooring: Blackbutt. Bona Traffic Natural finish
Windows: Aneeta Sliding Sash
Glass: Double Glazing ThermoTech manufactured by Viridian
Floor Tiles: Mutina Phenomenon, colour Fango, hexagon 165 x145
Wall Tiles: Mutina Phenomenon, colour Snow, rectangular 400 x 800
Sink 01: Corian rounded integrated sink
Kitchen Mixer Tap: Faucet Strommen Pegasi M30690 Curve 220
Pull Out Bin: Hafele Euro-Cargo Double-bin
Fridge freezer: LG Bottom mount fridge
Oven: Smeg 60cm classic thermoseal oven
Rangehood: Qasair Albany suspended
Cooktop 01: Smeg Domino style topmount ceramic electric cooktop 2 zone
Cooktop 02: Smeg Domino style topmost ultra low profile stone grill
Washing Machine: Bosch 6.5 front loader
Laundry Sink: Oliveri Solitaire round bowl sink
Laundry Mixer Tap: Faucet Strommen Pegasi M30690 Curve 160
WC Basin: Omvivo Neo mini wall basin
Basin Mixer Tap: Faucet Strommen Pegasi M30634
Bathroom Basin: Omvivo Neo 700 wall basin
Basin Mixer Tap: Faucet Strommen Pegasi M30634
Shower Rose: Faucet Strommen Pegasi
Shower mixer: Faucet Strommen Pegasi
Towel rail: Faucet Strommen Pegasi
Hooks: Faucet Strommen Pegasi
Toilet roll holder: Faucet Strommen Pegasi
Paint finishes: Dulux Lexicon Half, Dulux Black, Dulux Green Paw Paw
Powder coat finishes: Dulux White Satin, Dulux Black Satin, Dulux Deluxe Classic Hawthorn Green Gloss
Ceiling light: Bright Green D900 SH Curve LED Downlight
Pendant: Popper, Mistletoe Gloss, Light Lab de Stu, LAAL Official
Photography: Derek Swalwell
St Andrews Beach House on the Mornington Peninsula images / information received received 210319
Location: Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia
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