Anchored and Respectful – Dolphin Sands by Matt Williams Architects

Words by Bronwyn Marshall
Photography by Adam Gibson
Interior Design by Matt Williams Architects

Dolphin Sands is a removed and protective shelter amongst the landscape, sitting connected to its surrounds. Matt Williams Architects proposes to touch the site lightly, as the new carefully navigates the existing native fauna and flora, immersing itself in place.

Working with the existing contours across the site, Dolphin Sands represents the manifestation of the client’s wishes to create a place to both contemplate and be at one with the landscape, while also minimising the impact to the natural elements in doing so. The appeal of the site was initially spurred from its isolation and remoteness, allowing for a true sense of escape. Through further understanding and interrogation of the surrounds, the view from the site out toward Oyster Bay also became a key focus. The original concept for the design was inspired by a viewfinder in form and function, with an angled form that allowed for focused, framed portals to direct the creation of an image. While the slightness of the end resolve feels reminiscent of its origins, the process saw Matt Williams Architects evolve that original idea into more than just shelter and instead into a place to truly absorb the landscape.

Working with the existing contours across the site, Dolphin Sands represents the manifestation of the client’s wishes to create a place to both contemplate and be at one with the landscape, while also minimising the impact to the natural elements in doing so.

Built by Peter Blythe Builders, Dolphin Sands looks out enviably over the Freycinet Peninsula in Tasmania. As a focusing of views outward, curated openings direct the eye across the bay while the closeness of the retained and preserved landscape surrounding the form ensure a connection to context. In working with the existing terrain there is a sense of natural privacy created as the studio space sits almost hidden. Accessed by a narrow and undulating timber pathway, the building sits as the culmination of a journey that initially starts at a vehicle driveway before transitioning to the footpath. By stopping the driveway at this point, the form is able to be set further into the site.

With impact and sustainability at the forefront of the design approach, integrated systems allow for a preparedness for the changing weather conditions across the seasons, while also minimising disturbance through the use of a Surefoot footing system. Using exposed OSB lining, minimal trades were required on site, increasing insulation through the sealed nature of the panels and their associated thermal mass. The site works are intentioned to provide for both this initial stage of the development and later to accommodate the upcoming residence also planned for the same site, reducing impact on the terrain, flora and fauna.

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Built by Peter Blythe Builders, Dolphin Sands looks out enviably over the Freycinet Peninsula in Tasmania.

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By literally creating its own path, Dolphin Sands sets the tone for the development’s coming chapters. Matt Williams Architects has grounded the form in a way that is both visually unique and environmentally low impact, ensuring the current and future of occupation of the site will disturb the delicate ecosystem as little as possible.