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Lorne Beach House

Town planning / Coastal Architecture / Beach Shack / Lorne / Surf Coast

Lorne, Victoria


The Lorne beach house responds to memories formed over three generations spent holidaying at the property.  The original 1950’s beach shack built by the family, had stood the test of time including surviving the Ash Wednesday fires (one man against the elements), whilst providing our client with a lifetime of memories.

The owner’s sentimental attachment was strong and revealed itself in many stories told before any design work was undertaken.  After coming to terms that the shack had reached the end of its useful life, it made way for the needs of the new generation.  The site gets a new life for new memories to be formed. 

The subtleties of the original shack were to play a big part in our design response, evident when viewing the home from the Great Ocean Road.  The modest house sits comfortably on the site, without ego.  The roof form works with the natural slope of the land, not in visual conflict with it.  The house steps up the site to minimise site cut and the lightweight appearance and proportions of the design reflect the original shack – why not? The original shack lasted 60 years.

Family dynamics have shifted – grandkids now dominate time spent at the beach. The house accommodates multiple families, holidaying together – the legacy. Multiple decks add to the idea of a beach holiday and provide increased opportunities to be outdoors. The house draws in sunlight, providing comfortable internal spaces to support family interactions.

A sweeping view of the ocean is the sites greatest natural asset. The house design opens up living spaces so that the ocean is always in site. Living spaces flow on to the main deck, looking out to the surf.  Bedrooms, thought of as individual family spaces, feel like a retreat back into the site, a rest from the natural elements (and perhaps family dynamics!). Building materials become more solid to reflect this.

Overall, the house has been designed to achieve high levels of thermal performance and energy efficiency, providing a family retreat throughout all of Victoria’s seasons (often in the same day, as they say) – an outcome that was previously quite challenging.

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