Portsea, VIC, Australia

James Lyall Smith

Project Type
  • Residential
  • Portsea, VIC, Australia
Interior Designers
  • 450m2
Project Year
  • 2017
  • Shannon McGrath
Project Team
  • Tony Vella
  • Greg McNeil
  • Matt Power
  • Alysha Downes
  • Layton Builders
Interior Styling
  • Rhiannon Orr
  • Rhiannon Orr
Structural Engineer
  • Keith Patrick
Energy Rater
  • Matthew Graham
Town Planning
  • Hollerich Town Planning
  • Portsea, VIC, Australia

Wildcoast by RVA is a new residential interior design and architecture project located in the Victorian coastal town of Portsea.

Wildcoast is a new dwelling situated on the sand dunes on a Melbourne back beach. Inspired by the evocative coast line its materials and forms are inspired by its immediate context. Bunkered in; Wildcoast aims to protect from prevailing conditions whilst offering platforms to embrace its immediate and broader dynamic context. Within a deep recessive void an oversized timber door opens to present a soft, welcoming underbelly of winter beach tones and a sense of calm. Wildcoast offers refuge, a place of timeless well-crafted interiors and select fine furniture beautifully set against the wind-swept sand dunes and evocative coastal landscape.

The exposed and windswept site was the major influence in early concept sketches and drove the philosophy of ‘refuge and memory’.

A solid enforcing concrete mass floating above a bunkered dark base became the main image when conceptualising refuge. The first-floor built form is a dominant and masculine structure protecting a softer and much calmer underbelly within. The ground floor both in shape and colour sits more reservedly below shaping cosy bedrooms, utility spaces and a childrens lounge expanding out to the sheltered pool terrace.

Refuge is provided by the cantilevered built form shelter and wind break walls all aiming to frame external spaces that are protected and allow active functionality all year round.

The value of memory was driven heavily by the client, the architecture was to become the backdrop in which the young family could establish a holiday history together. The floating first floor platform becomes an open plan stage allowing the occupants to take in the wider context.

‘Slow reveal’ was another important idea that was implemented to layer external spaces using landscape and built forms. As one traverses across the site this activates the notion of escape and creates experiences that become individual and family memories.

The client brief was to provide an escape from busy life, a holiday home in a well known and loved place that encourages family to connect and create lifelong memories. The seasonal variation on the local back beach was the inspiration behind material selection and its representation in the built form.

The internal program worked with this concept resulting in long compressed spaces produced by architecturally dominant concrete-built form. Every view line from living spaces is framed by this horizontal expression, with the functionality of each space defined by fixed and floating furniture within.

The internal spaces have a conscious connection to the external spatial program also, both visual and physical relationships are formed between the users at various locations and levels.

The strong alignment between architecture and interiors demonstrates how a true collaboration and understanding of the brief and concept can work successfully together. As can be seen in the continuation of the off-form board marked concrete façade taken internally to frame spaces and create a setting for a soft, refined interior

Materiality and colour was vital to the sense of place and import part of the brief. Inspired by wintery beach side imagery the palette was driven to conform to a certain wild and rugged beach side mystique, without the typical clichés’.

Ultimatley a collaborative effort between Architects, Builder, Interior designers, decorators and client was key to procuring a successful on budget, time and successful architectural experience.

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Shannon McGrath

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