Seeley Architects designed the Citriodora House in the town of Anglesea, Australia.

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Project description

‘Citriodora’ is a holiday retreat set amongst a stand of beautiful Lemon scented gums, near Australia’s famed Great Ocean Road in Anglesea, Victoria. It is one of a number of inspired beach houses that Seeley Architects have designed over the past 10 or so years in this small coastal holiday hamlet.

The name ‘Citriodora’ is derived from the botanical name of the beautiful trees that dominate the northern corner of the property.

Inspired by the affects of the coastal winds, the form of the roof gently rolls, mimicking the shape of the wind pruned coastal vegetation. There is both simplicity and complexity in this building with large negative spaces offering views to the sky, battened screens proving visual privacy to the neighbours and two massive concrete walls forming a prehistoric spine through the middle. A thermal heat soak for the interior that mediates the diurnal temperature variations within the house.

This beautiful dwelling has been designed to maximise the opportunities offered by the site, with a character that respects its locality and environment.

The layout of the house is centred around a raised east facing living platform capturing coastal views and connections into the treetops. It is reminiscent of an adult’s tree house.

The approach to this house is a gentle rise gently from the street. It is sited in the lee of a small hill and nestled closely between two neighbouring houses.

Upon entering the house, you are greeted by massive in-situ concrete walls that form the staircase spine and dominate the entry space. This floor is the teenager’s zone with a swathe of bunks, a TV nook and a pool table for the obligatory holiday competitions.

Rising upward into the kitchen – living area, one’s eye is taken by the breathtaking views along the coastal cliffs and Southern ocean. Separated from the living zone by a protected courtyard deck and a generous internal void, lays the master bedroom, study, bathroom and a guest bedroom. The ceiling that sweeps generous over the entire upper level is gently formed from plywood and is reminiscent of the hull of an upturned yacht.

Wrapping around the exterior of the house is sustainable grown timber boards, fixed with maritime bronze nails, resisting the harsh coastal conditions and gradually weathering to a soft driftwood grey, a reference to the Citriodora tree’s bark.

This elegantly simple house uses a minimal palette with an aesthetic pared back to the essentials. It will gradually develop a patina over time, further blending with the grey-green of the site vegetation and providing a positive response to its impressive loci.

Architect: Seeley Architects

Photography by Zoe Economides, John Walker, and David Seeley