Located at the top of a windswept sand dune at Ocean Grove, Victoria, dropping down to the beach. The wind-beaten dune vegetation shows the ferocity of the local conditions, whipping across the ocean from the Bass Strait. The house designed by Auhaus Architecture replaces a previous house on the site by the same owners that was condemned due to significant steel corrosion throughout the structure.
The family split their time between this property and their farm and consist of a couple with 2 grown children, grandparents and future grandchildren in the picture.
The house has been designed as a response to site and weather conditions and multi-generational living. As well as perching over the dune escarpment, the house also sits adjacent to a public beach car park. A key element of the design was to engage with it, whilst retaining a degree of privacy for the owners. There is no fence to the public domain, just the edge of the house itself, opening up to the public through a large portal opening over the garage with a dune roof garden that will mature and merge with the landscape outside the house.
From within the house, the roof garden cuts out and frames the view to Point Lonsdale lighthouse, creating a dual sense of protection and connection, whilst from the car park it provides a welcome green edge and a glimpse into the domestic life of the house beyond.
Inside, the split level plan sets the house over three main levels, with a sculpted central atrium linking the layers. This void gives the living area a feeling of airy lightness despite its robust concrete shell. As one moves through the house, the build relaxes and becomes more expansive, reflecting the transition from the public to the private realm. The sculpted curves of the void and helical stair carry through into the set down carpeted living area and kitchen joinery, and shaped openings through the concrete.
The organic lines are a natural fit with the rugged native surroundings, creating an easy flow between spaces and reflecting the windswept beauty of the natural environment beyond the house.
The plan wraps around the site, enclosing an elevated, tiered central courtyard, pool, and roof garden with views straight through the house to the ocean horizon beyond. Living spaces are on the beach edge, kids’ bedrooms to the far side of the courtyard, parents above on the ocean edge, and grandparents on the bottom level.
Photographs: Derek Swalwell