Floating Above the Ocean – Blairgowrie Ocean Beach House by Planned Living Architects
Mornington Peninsula, VIC, Australia

Photography Derek Swalwell
Words Bronwyn Marshall

Perching on a sand dune, Blairgowrie Ocean Beach House embraces its location and, through controlled vantage points feels, as though it is floating above the ocean below.

Located along Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, Blairgowrie Ocean Beach House sits atop its sand dune, perching above the ocean. Embracing its outlook, the southern heavily and strategically glazed façade offers views stretching out to both the Bass Straight and Port Philip Bay simultaneously. Such a location was the catalyst for the resulting design, with the main focus being the outlook and the unique location. Jay Earles, director of Planned Living Architects, speaks to an understanding of the area as the emphasis for this home. He says, “it’s all about the view!”

Such a location was the catalyst for the resulting design, with the main focus being the outlook and the unique location.

The resulting planning and spatial definition was further emphasised by the site’s verticality, and the creating of two distinct zones upstairs and downstairs.

Built by Made Build, with landscape architecture by Acre, the emphasis of Blairgowrie Ocean Beach House is on carving out a unique experience. Jay explains, “in an effort to feel ‘alone’ on top of the sand dune, the existing development pattern of the adjacent houses was followed so that neighbouring houses weren’t brought into any of the main view lines.” The resulting planning and spatial definition was further emphasised by the site’s verticality, and the creating of two distinct zones upstairs and downstairs. He adds, “the main living spaces, main bedroom suite and one additional bedroom placed upstairs provide for the majority of accommodation requirements, while downstairs provides additional bedrooms and living space for the future growth of the family.” Key to the experience of feeling immersed within the site was the ingrained feeling of transition between inside and outside. Jay describes how “the downstairs living area provides a seamless connection to the outdoor entertaining area and flows on to the pool and gardens beyond.”

Key to the experience of feeling immersed within the site was the ingrained feeling of transition between inside and outside.

Looking out toward two incredible vantage points, the home and its extensive glazed southern façade acts as the conduit for this further connection to the ocean beyond.

Looking out toward two incredible vantage points, the home and its extensive glazed southern façade acts as the conduit for this further connection to the ocean beyond. Jay says, “the southern-facing side of the house is extremely exposed to the elements coming off Bass Strait and so we made a conscious decision to not put any main outdoor living areas on this side of the house.” In terms of planning, he adds, “this gave us the opportunity to frame an unimpeded view of the ocean on this side with massive pieces of fixed glass, with the intent being to immerse the inhabitants in the view, giving a feeling of hovering over the dunes toward the ocean.” Conversely, on the approaching side of the home, he says, “the northern side of the house is the opposite of this, being on the protected, warm and sunny side. We designed a smooth transition from the indoor living areas to outdoor living on both levels, providing for expansive views, this time however to a calmer outlook over the Mornington Peninsula to Port Philip beyond.”

Collaborating with Studio Tom for the interiors together with stylist Natalie James, as an embrace of its coastal location, inspiration for the materiality was found in responding to the unique context and the need to reduce the maintenance requirements for the home.

Combining a sense of retrained and considered endurance together with a realistic view of optimising its unique site and vistas, Blairgowrie Ocean Beach House proposes the occasional home as an envied destination.

Collaborating with Studio Tom for the interiors together with stylist Natalie James, as an embrace of its coastal location, inspiration for the materiality was found in responding to the unique context and the need to reduce the maintenance requirements for the home. Jay explains, “the material selections for the project were a combination of the bold and robust concrete elements, which anchor the house into its surrounds, with the timber cladding offsetting this by offering a softer link to the greys of the adjacent tea-tree scrub.” Again, as an extension of the interior, he says, “these materials continue, providing seamless links and enhancing the connection between inside and out.”

Combining a sense of retrained and considered endurance together with a realistic view of optimising its unique site and vistas, Blairgowrie Ocean Beach House proposes the occasional home as an envied destination.

Published 29 January, 2020
Photography  Derek Swalwell
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