A Considered Weighting – Collins Beach House by Tobias Partners
In honouring the site and its unique shape and siting, Collins Beach House is comprised of three volumes all aligned with views out and aimed to reinforce a connection to the enviable natural setting the home is immersed within. Tobias Partners anchor the forms within the otherwise soft bushland site, creating a balance to the conditions and a crisp yet low lying sculpture as an addition to the landscape.
It is said that behind the most simplified resolves, an entanglement of difficulties paved the path to its completion. From approach, Collins Beach House appears as though its parts all came together with an effortlessness ease, and as though its positioning and its comprising forms were meant to exist where they currently do. However, a series of challenges and restraints underpin the resulting form, where the unusual shape of the site, and the consideration of neighbouring properties to the east, north and west all affected the opportunities that remained. Choosing to frame views out to the south, and over the uninterrupted visual access to Collins Beach, Tobias Partners developed three distinct volumes that could be arranged as needed across the site.
Built together with The Construction Connection and joinery by Debrich, the surrounding and immediate landscape is designed by Volker Klemm and becomes the immediate bridge between the hard and the soft, while carving entertaining areas in the process. The semi-bushland that the site takes occupancy on also has an urban element to it, with established properties to all but one direction. In assessing the bushfire risk and setback controls, the limitations of the site and the available massing were directed by these restraints. By grouping the functional requirements of the brief within the three mass forms, each was arranged to both make sense of adjacencies while connecting outward to the views and landscape at every opportunity. While two of the volumes align with the ground level, the other sits elevated above, optimising views out even further.
Retaining a sense of connection to place was key to the experience of the home, and the abundance of visual access becomes the response. While fire management elements are integrated throughout, they are also designed into the detailing of the home from the beginning instead of being added on, independent of the core design philosophy. A palette of lasting and robust materials forms the base of the home, with the timeless and non-specificity of the selections allows the home to age gracefully in place, while also withstanding the harsh coastal conditions.
As a calm and welcoming refuge amongst its surrounds, Collins Beach House sits as a quietening place to immerse oneself within nature. Tobias Partners bring a rigor to an otherwise more casual setting, while remaining grounded in place, but elevating the idea of what a home within such a setting can be.