Architecture & Urbanism

House 4 – Golden Beach Coastal House

Golden Beach, VIC


The alluring romance of the moody eastern Victorian coastline drew our client to purchase this site over twenty years ago.

Situated on a long sand dune and fronting a thick blanket of ti-trees and coastal scrub, the design of this coastal house arose from the site’s environmental and topographic opportunities. Working to a modest budget and integrating several mid-century fixtures and art works the client had patiently gathered over the years, were further elements to our brief.

From our first visit and survey-notes, we experienced the strong coastal winds and the sense of primal, elemental remove of this location. We saw these factors as opportunities for a robust massing with allusions to the rugged coastal cabins that originally dotted this remote part of Victoria’s coastline.

The resultant design is a 2-level house with a smaller footprint at ground level than the main upper level. The form and shaping of the massing was designed to capture surrounding coastal scrub views and draw cooling summer breezes into the interior. The upper level volume is bi-sected by a thin stair void that acts as a chamber to a thermal pinwheel. In summer periods, cool air emenating from the polished concrete floor slab at ground level is drawn up and through the upper level by a thermal pinwheel effect. Casement window panels and louvres are strategically oriented to mobilise the thermal pinwheel by capturing even the lightest of cool breezes and maximise the draw of natural cross-ventilation through the body of the house.

The site is within a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rated area of 29. External façade materials, roofing systems and details were chosen and developed to accord to BAL-29 requiremements.
As a cost-saving measure, the structure of the house minimises the use of structural steel. The resultant braced plywood, box-beam system allowed the maximum possible, structurally-strong building enclosure at the lowest possible construction cost.
Finishes throughout are simple and durable, in keeping with the client’s requirements for honest, ‘no-bull’, direct materiality and the equally robust, ‘no-bull’ nature of the location.

Traditional and Coninuing Land Bidewell, Yuin Gunnaikurnai & Moneo (Ngarig) Country


145.0 m2


Complete (Images taken during construction)


Enviromentally driven volumetric interplay / Victorian south coast ‘soft-brutalism’ 

Architecture & Urbanism