AM Architecture

Sorrento Beach House

Sorrento, VIC, Australia

Rebecca Wilkinson

  • Sorrento, VIC, Australia
  • 550m2
Project Year
  • 2015
Structural Enginners
Services Engineers
  • Sorrento, VIC, Australia

This is a newly designed house built on Victoria’s first settlement site of 1803 in Sullivan’s Bay.

The Sorrento Beach House is a new dwelling built by AM Architecture in the very picturesque area of Sorrento in Sullivan’s Bay, Victoria. The beach house begins as an austere and robust object in the landscape which begins to relax and respond to its natural environment as it approaches the water.

Considering the site’s history, designers thought the exterior should not be playful. It should be heavy and robust as one would wish for a ship, or pier, and It should be somewhat austere to avoid polite domestic gestures which seemed out of place against a sombre historical context.

Departing from this position, a broad & very heavy timber screen wraps the building, acting to screen the concrete shell from the suns heat. The timber-work references more the heavy coastal timber-work on the foreshore, than the local historic vernacular.

The house transitions between the ideas of shelter and exposure, articulating privacy in the dwelling and the occupant’s experience of the natural site.

Internally, the sleeping zone emphasises the concrete shell and is characterised by internal surface, punched-out windows, deep timber sills, and filtered light through external slotted timber screens.

Moving from sleeping to the living zones, broad light enters from all directions, and the architecture transitions to a language of spatial openness and less formal restraint, responding to sunlight, wind, privacy, and extensive foreshore views.

The concrete interior emerges to face the harsher conditions of the foreshore, the waterline “presses” against the building creating a sweeping roof line, earthy colours from a local quarry appear in the ground slab, and the timber ceiling fragments into a natural crystalline pattern which align with constellations in the night sky on the eve of settlement.

The living areas are conceptualised as outdoor space; earth below, sky above waterline directly in front.

Photography by Dianna Snape.

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