In using only timber to create every interior design element – floors, walls, cabinetry, furniture and ceilings – John Wardle Architects has created a striking house in Fairhaven Beach House.
The residence is located on the ridgeline above the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, featuring spectacular views of the ocean and the beach. The proportions, orientation and dimensions of every window were designed to frame the stunning panoramic views.
“Our design process is akin to scenography, cutting together sensory and spatial experiences to frame the theatre of inhabitation within. The spatial journey through the house from arrival to view is choreographed to increase anticipation before reaching the main living space,” the architects said.
“As you step beneath a cantilevered study into a dramatic vertical entry space, you become acutely aware of a number of twists and folds along its length that make the transformation into horizontal living space. The main window aperture matches the cinematic proportions of the ocean view.”
The floor plan coils around a main courtyard which is protected from the hard winds of the coast. Doors in the living room and a large sliding window in the kitchen open up to the courtyard.
The 430-square metre house is divided into two levels. On the ground floor, it features two bedrooms and a shared bathroom on the northwest side, with the living area integrated into the large kitchen and dining area to the south.
Though the common areas face south to offer the best views, they gain exposure to the northern sunlight and the warmth it brings through the central courtyard. A fireplace, located between the living and dining room, helps to keep the house warm during the cold weather.
The stairs, made entirely of timber, lead to the upper floor, where the main bedroom overlooks the ocean. The bedroom boasts an ensuite bathroom and a north-facing studio. In addition, there is a terrace facing the beach, creating a private outdoor space.
The facades of the house are made of green-grey zinc cladding, chosen because of its longevity and a natural colour that merges with the scrub and tea tree landscape.
In creating an interior completely lined in timber, the architects said they wanted to create “an enclosure for living that its inhabitants become completely immersed within. Your eye is then always drawn toward the dramatic outlook beyond.”
The project recently earned a Commendation in the Residential Interior category of the 2013 Integrain Timber Vision Awards, a prestigious program that recognizes innovative use of timber in interior design.
In addition, the house was awarded an AIA Victoria Award for Residential Architecture in 2013.
“Set high up overlooking Bass Strait, this house belies belief in its pursuit of a sublime aesthetic in architecture,” the AIA jury said.