Merricks Beach House, a holiday house located near the Melbourne coast which won the Residential-House (New) Award in the 2013 Victorian Architecture Awards, was made using recycled materials.

Kennedy Nolan Australian Architects used recycled clay bricks, concrete and rough-sawn timber to build the award-winning house, which is located only two blocks from the beach.

The home, completed in 2012, functions as a holiday/weekend home and is available for short-term rental. Architect and owner Rachel Nolan created a flexible building capable of adapting to the needs of different occupants. The site features a durable structure and was inexpensive to build and to maintain.


The central deck takes advantages of the northern sun and provides privacy.

“The weekender is a highly social space, you spend more time with others and having guests to stay is common and so the house had to be a place to enjoy one other,” the architects said.

Responding to the natural slope of the site, the house stands one storey in height, but with three staggered levels. The floor plan is designed in a “U” shape with the rooms encircling a central courtyard.

recycled bricks

Recycled brick was used to build the lower sections of the walls with timber higher up.

The north side of the building features two bedrooms located beside a single bathroom and a bunk room which can double as a second living room if needed. This side of the building is connected to the small, private north deck.

To the south, the kitchen and dining area facing the barbecue deck while a sunken living room opens out to the central deck and serves as the main entrance/access to the house.

The service entrance and deck are located to the east and connected to the laundry room, which is incorporated into the bathroom.


The fireplace defines a space between the kitchen and living room

The house was designed to be used year-round, not only in summer months. The main courtyard takes advantage of the northern winter sun and provides privacy while a slow combustion fireplace highlights a space between the kitchen and the living room, ideal for colder months.

Recycled bricks were used to build the lower sections of the walls and are visible both inside and outside the building. While they are mostly painted white, two unfinished circles reveal the original colour and add a splash of colour to the interior.

central deck

View from the central deck.

Rough timber wraps over the tops and corners of the walls, while windows are designed inside the gaps between the two different materials.

“I’ve enjoyed making a little big house, or a big little house,” said Nolan.

“Architecture is one thing, but having everyone in the house is what animates the spaces and makes them warm and welcoming. Having people over to enjoy the spaces was of utmost importance to the design of this beach house, and it is sure to be a place of many fun family memories.”

U-Shaped Plan

The floor plan’s U-shape design wraps around the main courtyard.