Point Lonsdale Beach House by Baenziger Coles

July 29, 2011

Baenziger Coles Architects have designed a beach house in Point Lonsdale, Australia.


Point Lonsdale Beach House by Baenziger Coles

Project Overview
The building is a reflection of the owner’s passion for the outdoors and the many wonderful outdoor pursuits including; surfing, fishing, and surf life saving. A desire for a retreat whereby one could simply relax and entertain family and friends in comfortable interior spaces with an integral link to the outdoors. This was more about the connection with the ground rather than views of the water or the beach.

Project Brief
The design of the house is contemporary in its approach to design and crafted in its execution. The scale of the house respects adjoining neighbours. The site orientation and arrangement of the built forms respond and embrace the natural environment at every opportunity, as does the use of local and recycled materials. The design emulates a passion for quality, aesthetics, functionality and its relationship with the environment.

The design is based on the simple arrangement of three distinct elements – the first floor “container”, the ground floor area that contains the internal spatial arrangements and the lounge area.

Project Innovation
There are many hidden treasures, finely detailed surprises, hand crafted artefacts and trinkets that have been woven into the design of the house, many only becoming evident after closer examination. Unlike the totem pole that takes pride of place marking the entry, the 10 roof top mounted solar panels are not apparent and cannot be seen, nor can the eaves gutters which have been hidden behind the angled timber clad blades on the western and eastern facades – concealing the mechanics of the rainwater harvesting system.

Internally the house promotes openness yet the clearly defined spaces can be easily closed off or zoned for privacy and when a range of activities and events are occurring. Vertical glazed panels between the perimeter glazing interconnect the partitioned spaces and offer views from one end of the house to the other. The quality of the external architecture is clearly reflected in the interior spaces.

The use of honest, local and recycled materials complements the building’s sense of place in the context of the local area. Natural materials such as spotted gum run vertically on the upper level timber façade, and split face concrete blocks form the “bookends”. Random pattern Castlemaine slate is used as the apron finish surrounding the house and as a pathway connecting to the adjacent workshop and garage. The stone for the curved external wall that embraces and defines the outdoor BBQ and meals area was recycled from the fireplace chimney and garden bed walling of the previous house.

Design Challenge
One of the design challenges was the site – which looking at the final residence this may not be immediately apparent, but the site was basically flat and as such, relatively uninteresting in terms of being able to create a form that might respond to an undulating or sloping topography that often can give rise to something quite dynamic and interesting.

The challenge was to design a new two storey house in amongst an area dominated by single storey houses (without the new residence sticking out like a sore thumb) and to minimise the impact of bulk and any loss of solar penetration to the sites immediately adjoining the property.

The way the house is arranged suits the lifestyle and the way the owners go about their activities perfectly; from the custom board racks within the garage, to the outdoor shower, to the equipment wash down area, the “back door” entry to the internal shower with integrated timber seat and wet suit drying rail to the kitchen layout, with generous galley and food preparation area to the large internal dining area that connects seamlessly to the external barbeque and meals area. The whole design is about the wide ranging coastal activities that Point Lonsdale is so blessed with and the continual socialising with family and friends that brings the owners to the home weekend after weekend.

By acknowledging these issues and taking them into consideration, we believe the design was resolved to successfully respond to these challenges.

Numerous passive and active energy saving features and sustainable design elements worth noting include the following:
– Rain Water Harvesting – Storage of 22,000 litres of harvested rainwater.
– Recycled Building Materials – Re-use of pre-loved Castlemaine stone for the new wall encapsulating the external entertainment area.
– Solar Power – PV panels incorporated as part of the north face of the three skylights on the roof.
– Sun Control – Cedar sun louver canopies to the external face of the upper north façade to control the direct summer sun into each of the four bedrooms
– Efficient Hot Water – Primarily a weekend family retreat, the hot water system was selected based on the units being used on a fairly immediate and as need basis.
– Natural Light – Via the strategic placement of windows and roof lights, natural light abounds.
– Thermal Mass – Founded on a concrete slab with the east and west facades constructed of double skinned cavity insulated spilt faced concrete blocks.
– Insulation – The house and even the garage are both extremely well insulated.
– Weather Seals –Doors and windows have been fitted with effective weather seals.
– Cross Ventilation & Thermal Stack Ventilation – The building performs very effectively when “sailed” in the correct way.
– Space Heating – Efficient small bore water (hydronic) heating system using a gas fired boiler.
– Zoning –Internal spaces can be zoned and sealed off from one another when required for the control and conservation of heating or cooling when necessary.

Visit the Baenziger Coles website – here.

Photography by Ross Bird