Home to fewer than 1,000 residents, the coastal town of Flinders on Australia’s Mornington Peninsula—about a 90-minute drive south of Melbourne—is the site of a dramatic, four-bedroom house by Woods Bagot that amplifies the imposing surroundings at every turn.
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Flinders is dominated by timber cottages and bungalows, but global architecture firm Woods Bagot took a bold departure from this simple vernacular. Nik Karalis, CEO of the firm and lead designer for the project, describes the three-story, 9,500-square-foot space that echoes the movement of the ocean as "a new breed of responsive design."
Inspired by both the landscape and tidal movement and light, "the building curves inwards for protection and outwards to maximize views. The angle, or stepping, follows the cliff profile on the escarpment," adds Karalis.
It comprises two volumes precariously stacked atop one another. Shunning right angles, this sweeping organic form bends from north to south. Natural clam shell patterns that adorn the fossilized limestone cladding "are left to sing unobstructed, as well as pay homage to the area’s Jurassic coral geology," says Karalis.
Partnering with Cremorne, Australia, firm Hecker Guthrie and Melbourne stylist Simone Haag, Woods Bagot ensured that the interiors naturally extend from the facade, embracing limestone flooring and columns as well as concrete. For example, the subterranean level, home to the wine cellar and plant room, is built on concrete piles. Throughout the house, the concrete’s cool gray tones contrast with bright Australian sunlight.
An over-scaled, crucifix door handle crafted from dark oak is the focal point of entrance and paves the way to more of the rich material inside, which dresses the ground-floor corridor and defines the sleeping portal containing the three guest bedrooms. Above, the upper atrium flows off to the living and dining area or master bedroom, complete with minibar.
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Materials like charcoal timber, ash gray marble, aged bronze, and oxidized brass set a tone of luxury, heightened by stand-out pieces including a custom wool carpet with deep loops that reference coral polyps.
"There were neighbors nervous about privacy and losing their coastal views," says Karalis, "but the geometry of the design and the building’s placement work hard to reasonably preserve these."
Related Reading: A Circular Beach House in Australia Embraces Coastal Living
Furniture/Styling: Simone Haag
Builder/General Contractor: Remato Construction
Structural Engineer: 4D Workshop
Civil Engineer: MA Civil Design
Landscape Design: James Ross Landscape Design
Cabinetry Design/Installation: E&C Joinery
Stonemason: Adriatic Stone
Metalwork: Hellemann Metalworks