A Coastal Shack Reimagined - The Apollo Bay Beach House by Dock 4 Architects
Bruny Island, TAS, Australia
On the shores of Apollo Bay on Tasmania’s Bruny Island, an angular black-clad form emerges from the coastal vegetation. The Apollo Bay House by Dock 4 Architects is a unique structure, designed as a built tent-like layer protecting the original cedar shack that sits at its centre.
The timber shack originally occupied the beautiful rural site, and the client sought to maintain this existing building while expanding it to encompass four bedrooms. Dock 4 approached this challenge by designing new spaces besides, in front of and above the original shack. These new spaces are defined by their high ceilings and angled walls that contrast with the older, more traditional rectilinear rooms.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of the new design, however, is the triple-polycarbonate translucent skin that comprises the angular Western facade. Sheltered externally by timber battens, filtered light streams in, dappling the interior of the new space. Semi-opaque, the polycarbonate creates a mediated connection with the outdoors akin to the canvas of a tent that allows in light while providing shelter and privacy.
The Apollo Bay House by Dock 4 Architects is a unique structure, designed as a built tent-like layer protecting the original cedar shack that sits at its centre.
This then gives way to a series of fenestrations that become virtually entire walls of glass, framed so as to accentuate the geometry of the house. The living space, thus, opens up on all sides to the surrounding environment. A small deck is nestled within the vegetation while the kitchen, dining and master bedroom upstairs take in the panoramas to the north, where the sea and hills stretch out to the horizon.
The dark exterior, that recedes amongst the trees as shadowy form, is carried through internally to the blackened timber kitchen cabinetry. Here, the darkness also has the effect of causing the cabinetry to quietly recede, juxtaposed with the lightness of both the view and timber window frames opposite. Timber flooring warms the space, creating a welcoming sense of simplicity that remains true to the spirit of the original humble shack.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of the new design, however, is the triple-polycarbonate translucent skin that comprises the angular Western façade.
With its restrained material and colour palette, its defined A-line form and translucent polycarbonate wall, Dock 4 Architects recall the archetypal structure of the tent. This is true not only of the built form, but of the architects’ commitment simplicity, which reconises that it is precisely through the modesty of the shelter that one experiences the greatest connection with nature.