LocationMerricks Beach, Melbourne, Australia
Project TeamRachel Nolan, Patrick Kennedy, Michael Macleod
From the architect. This small house at Merricks Beach has been designed as a weekender that is available for short term rental. It needed to be an economical build and tough enough for the knocks of a rental market. It is 2 blocks from the beach. It has no views and had no existing trees on the site.
There are the usual line-up of rooms required, and in this instance it is a modest list; but what becomes a more interesting conversation is how you live differently in the weekender. • No one needs to ‘own’ a bedroom • No one needs to shower and leave quickly in the morning • What you need to store is completely different • You arrive and unpack; you leave & pack • You spend more time with others; having guests stay over is common • There always seems to be more children than adults! • It is a place to enjoy each other
A courtyard typology ensures maximum privacy and access to northern winter sun, yet in thisstraight forward floor plan a number of ‘in-between’ spaces have been considered.
The bunk room which is located on the north edge of the internal courtyard has no doors and the king single bunks sit within their own alcove. This spacefeels dark and private and becomes a second living room when the house swells with people.Within this space thereare different places to be. There is no need for walls or doors. Light forms the threshold.
The coastal weekender is not just a summer dream. In winter the hearth is central to this house. Located between the kitchen and living room, a slow combustion fireplace defines another ‘in-between’ space. There is time here in the colder months to pull up a chair, chat or read. In summer this space dissolves into the open corner of the central deck.
A slight fall across the site allows for the house to have 3 levels. The living pit sits below the central timber deck. It is a soft floor that allows you to be low and look out over the skillion roof to the trees in the surrounding area. Thepit edge becomes another of these in-between places. It is a place to sit and wide enough for a futon for an afternoon nap in the winter sun. The edge curves to become the hearth for the fire,finishing in a ledge for the television.
The materials of the build are a big part of what this house is about. It is not a precise build. It feels raw and tough. A language of masonry, concrete and timber was developed. The white painted brickwork to both interior and exterior walls is never punctured by windows. They are always walls, solid and straight forward. There are two moments where a circle has been left, telling the story of the recycled red bricks that the house is made from. The structural concrete slab, rough sawn timber cladding and concrete block screen wall have been expressed with similar simplicity.