Sensitively Responsive – Beach Slice by Steffen Welsch Architects

Words by Bronwyn Marshall
Photography by Tatjana Plitt
Build by Frank Built
Interior Design by Steffen Welsch Architects
Landscape Design Henry Landscape Design
ESD Consultancy Floyd Energy

Respectfully responding to both the location and coastal vernacular, Beach Slice sees the insertion of a lightweight, timber clad home into its picturesque landscape. Steffen Welsch Architects proposes a recessive home that, instead of imposing on its surrounds, sits sensitively within them.

Located in Shoreham, within an hour of Melbourne’s CBD, Beach Slice aims to capture an appreciation for its location by being crafted as an extension of the landscape, honing the architectural opportunity presented by its rare location. Steffen Welsch Architects draws from a relaxed and casual aesthetic whilst forming a uniquely expressive home in the process.

Steffen Welsch Architects draws from a relaxed and casual aesthetic whilst forming a uniquely expressive home in the process.

Built by Frank Build, with landscape design by Floyd Energy, Beach Slice is formed from a place of quietness. Whilst many architectural responses feel like dominating or enlarged sculptures, the opposite was intended for this project. The focus lies predominately on the landscape, celebrating the opportune siting so near to the ocean. The encasing materiality of the home emphasises the natural elements, intended to weather and reflect time – a key functional requirement was the structure’s ability to blend into and become part of the landscape.

The residence’s design lends itself to being flexible and adjustable as needed to reflect its owners. Bisected into zones, the separation of active and passive spaces defines the flow of movement throughout the home – areas for private retreat are separated from open and social areas, such as the outdoor deck. Furthermore, orientation, overhangs, increased thermal mass and energy capturing systems are integrated throughout the home, minimising the structure’s footprint whilst allowing high functionality.

The encasing materiality of the home emphasises the natural elements, intended to weather and reflect time – a key functional requirement was the structure’s ability to blend into and become part of the landscape.

Imbuing warmth, Beach Slice is uniquely respectful in how it engages with the natural elements. Steffen Welsch Architects proposes a modest and calming family home embedded with a flexibility that allows retreat, togetherness and comfort to be optimised.