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Anglesea Beach House

Town planning / Bushfire management overlay / Coastal architecture / Native vegetation / Surf Coast / Knock down-rebuld

Anglesea, Victoria

Roseneath Creative


Nestled amongst remnant coastal vegetation, the Anglesea Beach House set out on a trek to exist in the face of forced vegetation removal that was at first heart breaking for our client.  A Bushire Overlay applies to the site, amongst others.  For a long period, we wondered if we had a destination.  Some mindful reflection and many deep conversations on site resulted in a design response the has come a long way to balance the requirements placed on a modern family beach house, whilst meticulously working with vegetation retention priorities, which, included maintaining the existing vegetated streetscape and the privacy to the home that this affords, retention of vegetation within side and rear setbacks (most challenging) and managing the vegetated outlook from internal spaces so that our client didn’t lose their beloved outlook.  The replacement house could not take a backwards step from its weathered, but homely ancestor.

Careful consideration was given to accommodating multiple families for short stays within a single home, whilst providing break out spaces and an area for cousins to bunk.  A generous deck was a must, and this had to be a sunny space.  A strong connection to well utilised outdoor areas on both levels was a non-negotiable.

We were originally asked to design a comfortable and functional ‘retirement home’ that could also accommodate the extended family and support a coastal lifestyle.  We feel good about this outcome, however, in reducing the house footprint to ensure additional existing trees could be retained, the house maintained two levels, reflecting the existing arrangement.  This really opened up the outlook beyond the site as well as providing the ‘family’ zoning ultimately required, so a compromise was reached.

Design objectives were to include simplicity, comfort, low ongoing maintenance and living costs.   This is where the architecture really speaks out.  The house faces both north and south, and connects with both.  The design is strong on solar passive design principles and we would expect the house to be wonderfully comfortable to live in.  Ironically, a large wood fire is a feature of the main space.  The solar PV system has been designed to sustain the house throughout the year, with roof water captured and reused both internally and for landscaping.  A grey water system will go a long way to shore up the long term health of the trees that will remain, and others that will re-establish over time.

While the project vision was for a house ‘amongst the trees’, it took some time to trek the altitude required to reach sunlight.  We are extremely keen to see this project realised to allow our client to shift into the reflection and enjoyment phase of their journey.

Surf Coast Times
February 2023

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