A Multi-Generational Coastal Home – Y House by Andrew Simpson Architects
Wye River, VIC, Australia

Photography Peter Bennetts
Words Bronwyn Marshall
Engineer WebbConsult

Offering an innate flexibility, the skewed geometry of Y-House is a result of the way the spaces all intertwine and support one another. Andrew Simpson Architects responds to a unique and enviable siting through a clean and open approach, encouraging an engaged dialogue with the natural.

Navigating its steep sloping site in Victoria’s Wye River, on the Great Ocean Road, Y-House sees a less-than-traditional formation emerge on site in response to its occupants and their intended use of the home. As a coastal occasional home for the three generations of the same family that intend to share the space, ensuring an ingrained flexibility was integrated into the core planning and how all of the zones interact was key from its inception. Endowed with fortunate outward views, a series of apertures open up the generous internal volumes out toward the Bass Strait. Andrew Simpson Architects combines a respectfully robust approach together with a bold formal offering to create a unique and lasting impression that balances the natural attributes of the site.

Andrew Simpson Architects combines a respectfully robust approach together with a bold formal offering to create a unique and lasting impression that balances the natural attributes of the site.

Built by Camson Homes, navigating the challenging site alongside WebbConsult, Y-House is the much-needed reparation to an area devastated by recent bushfires. As a testament to remote architecture needing to be considered insertions into the landscape, the resulting residence pays due homage to the context, climatic conditions and its subsequent vulnerability. The comprising elements see a light-construction over two levels, clad in dark metal sheeting and projecting upward. Responding to its residents’ nuanced brief, the home needed to be opened up and divided into sub-quarters based on use, which saw the plan take on the formation of its namesake – the letter ‘y’. The resulting three wings allow for a series of natural retreat spaces and allow for separation of different groups – all with both matched access to views and an immersed feeling within the site.

Offering a robust and resilient front to the changing climate of the site, the residence incorporates a number of site-specific systems and mechanisms that allow waste and water management on site. Its location in a potential landslip zone also needed consideration and a specifically engineered approach that anchors the form to its terrain. The subsequent glazing and cladding also adds to this resilience, guarding the home from the elements. Internally, as each space drinks in the natural light and blues from the ocean from its surrounds, light coloured timber flooring and custom joinery sit balanced with lightly painted plaster and neutral tones.

Internally, as each space drinks in the natural light and blues from the ocean from its surrounds, light coloured timber flooring and custom joinery sit balanced with lightly painted plaster and neutral tones.

Y-House spreads evenly across its undulating terrain and creates a calming and protective shelter for its multi-generational residents. As an embrace of its view, through a sensitive and measured approach, the resulting form engages with an appreciation of its site’s value, whilst also understanding of its vulnerability.

Published 1 March, 2021
Photography  Peter Bennetts
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