Fortress House / ITN Architects

© Albert Comper

Architects: ITN Architects
Location: St Andrew’s Beach,
Project Team: Aidan Halloran
Engineer: Josh Millie Jomil Engineering
Builder: On the Rise Construction, Ross Stapleton
Project Area: 260 sqm
Project Year: 2008
Photographs: Albert Comper

© Albert Comper

This coastal house was designed as a literal interpretation of the client’s initial brief. They requested a very private retreat, anti-social, even unfriendly to the street, as a counterpoint to their sociable city lives.

The only 2 windows to the street frontage are deep set and high, allowing no interior views, and the main 1st floor entry is reached via a 6 metre bridge. It is only once beyond this uninviting threshold, that the house gradually begins to open up to the surrounding ti tree covered dunes, with carefully selected views. This comes to a dramatic conclusion with the 6.5 metre tall window at the far end of the central spine of the house.

site plan
north elevation

The form and materials of the building draw upon the 1950s to 1970s Australian weekender, with added luxury only in the generosity of the interior spaces. The no fuss raw timber exterior combined with rusted steel balustrades will streak and fade with time, slowing taking on the grey and olive of the surrounding vegetation.

The simple palette of all timber exterior, the timber and white concrete and plaster interior was selected to avoid any high gloss contemporary finishes. It is a simple robust interior designed to accommodate the old op shop furniture and relaxed messiness that is an enjoyable part of the beach house experience.

© Albert Comper

There was a conscious aim for an “ordinary” architecture, with forms, layout, details and materials as simple and obvious as possible.

Although it was a frustrating 6 years from conception to completion, it is one of the most satisfying projects I have worked on, where the both the clients and builder worked very hard to get the best result possible, with a relatively small budget.

Cite: "Fortress House / ITN Architects" 02 Nov 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <>
  • up_today_arch

    It is very poetic solution with the bridge…

  • Arquipablo


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