2013 Melbourne Design Awards



Project Overview

Located 50 metres above sea level and overlooking the ocean, capturing the site's natural features was a priority.
A secluded bush coastal site featuring unbroken panoramic views to Victoria's Southern Ocean 50 metres below, capturing views north easterly along the coast to Point Roadknight near Anglesea , and glimpses of the light house at Aireys Inlet to the south west.
Situated high at the top of the large site, it was an opportunity to deliver to the client a unique residence overlooking the tree tops to the ocean views from the living and entertaining areas , and through the rear courtyard and entertaining area to the swimming pool on the forest side of the house.

Project Commissioner

Private Client

Project Creator

Perrett Ewert Leaf Pty Ltd







Project Brief

This unique site enabled us to create a dwelling that not only drew on the sweeping panoramic views across both axis of a very open residence, but simultaneously created subtle separation between areas for adults and children through clever spatial planning.

The brief called for a robust home that would maximize the lifestyle potential of the site and the region. Combining a first level open plan living/dining/kitchen area with unparalleled view-lines, with children's bedrooms and rumpus area beneath. Adjacent wings with glazed links each side were created for the parents and eventual guests/studio.

Presenting the panoramic features of the site immediately to visitors was a priority, who, after meandering through the heavily treed driveway when entering the bottom of the site, the linear residence built along the contour presents a grand destination as the visitors first approach.

The large lower lawn area greets them at the car parking area, where they then walk through the Australian bushland setting with natural stone steps and gravel path to a large spotted gum entry ramp abutting a creeper mesh feature wall lining the rear garage.

Project Need

The integration of new dwellings into coast and rural sites is a delicate exercise; maximizing the stunning views and natural surroundings with the functional expectations people have of modern family living.

Sitting comfortably into the land, the house is a contemporary design without acting against not only the architecture of the area, but also specific site itself.

The large site has road entry points at two ends, a meandering forest visitor entry and a second more practical entry for the everyday family access to the residence. A feature of the house is the glass wall and roof covering the rear utility stair, allowing maximum light through to the lower floor of the split level house, as well as allowing extra views to the rear pool area. Ocean views can be seen from the pool, looking through the house and glazed link and similarly the children can be monitored from within the house whilst swimming.

Design Challenge

Successful integration of large buildings into hilltop rural landscapes is always a challenge, as the dwelling needed to nest naturally into the site, but allow easy access and free flowing functionality to the spaces.

The building form results from the Architects desire to nestle the house into the treetops, with a roof form following the slope of the land, whilst keeping within the maximum height allowed. When approaching from the alternative high side entry road, the garage and utility shed blend naturally with the slope of the land to allow comfortable vehicle maneuvering, and offering an alternative rear access via the external beach shower area.

Abutting a State Forest, and with abundant trees on the site itself, bushfires are an ongoing concern in this type of area, so clever design that also met the bushfire assessment requirements was pivotal. This was achieved through a facade palette of bushfire resistant timbers, galvanized steel , off form concrete, natural and painted compressed sheet, rendered block walls and monument colorbond to maintain the earthy tones of the area.


Large dwellings in areas that can be quite removed from services require innovative ways to be self sustaining.

The eastern morning sun warms the house and decks quickly, and strategically placed louvre windows and large open facades on both sides throughout allow summer breezes to flow through and maintain a suitable temperature. The decks are then shaded for the afternoon and evening enjoyment overlooking the ocean.

A rear swimming pool captures the early sun's warmth, as does the roof's secluded solar pool heat pipes , yet is situated to use the trees to block out excessive afternoon heat.
Large expanses of glass challenged the energy rating assessors, but the ability to separate the living areas into three wings enabled a five star rating to be achieved. Air conditioning is minimized by the cross ventilation of the design.
A coastal site not serviced, water is captured in two large underground tanks and pumped to the house.

Presented by:

This award celebrates the design process and product of planning, designing and constructing form, space and ambience that reflect functional, technical, social, and aesthetic considerations. Consideration given for material selection, technology, light and shadow. The project must be constructed.

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