Located in St Andrews on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, this is a home like nothing else. Described as a ‘bach’ — a New Zealand word used to describe a very modest, small and basic shack, or shed — St Andrews beach shack is modest in size but undeniably cool in style.
We took a look around (pun totally intentional!) this amazing home with Andrew Maynard, Director at Austin Maynard Architects.
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Set amongst the sand dunes, St Andrews beach shack almost blends into the landscape.
“This home is less than 5 metres in radius. It was designed to be an object in the landscape with the form set amongst the rough and sandy terrain,” Andrew explains.
“It is modest in size but provides everything you would need and want in a beach shack.
“Holiday houses are increasingly becoming carbon copies of the suburban home. The owner of St Andrews beach house recognised this. He challenged us to design him a ‘bach’ — a very modest, small and basic shack, or shed.”
Located in St Andrews, there’s not a whole lot around this beautiful part of the coast. Which is exactly what appealed to the owner about this piece of secluded paradise.
“St Andrews Beach has no shopping strip and no restaurants,” Andrew says. “There’s a corner store, a brewery, and not much else.
“What it does offer is serenity and seclusion. A wildly beautiful coastline, and some of the most celebrated residential architecture in Australia.
“The owner was fortunate enough to own land directly next to a national parkland, close to the foreshore and directly within the sand dunes.
What sets it apart from any other ‘beach shack’ is its beautiful round shape — celebrated in all its glory.
“The beach shack is a two storey circular holiday home that takes advantage of the remoteness of site and expansive views. Views which extend in all directions.
“The house respectfully integrates into the environment. With no neighbouring forms to respond to, the brief was freely imagined. Our client simply tasked us with designing a modest, two-bedroom beach house.
“The shape of the house grew from a response to the views and the simplification of the interior spaces. Inside, there are no corridors. Corridors and circulation space are, in our view, a waste. A corridor free home lends itself to a circular design,” Andrew explains.
The green spiral staircase creates a unique, eye-catching structure in the centre of the home.
“The spiral staircase is its central core. It leads upstairs to the bathroom and bedroom zone. Unlike a traditional bedroom layout, the upstairs sleeping area is essentially one bunk room, separated by curtains,” Andrew says.
“The space can also function as a second living or games room. Rather than design a series of sealed bedrooms, each with ensuite and walk-in-robe, the sleeping zone at St Andrews beach shack is informal, casual and relaxed
“The house displays an innovative use of timber, with chunky details and exposed portal frames.
Nestled amongst the sand dunes, special care had to be taken to ensure the beach shack could withstand the elements.
“This home has a very small footprint amongst the dunes. Like all of Austin Maynard Architects buildings, sustainability is at the core of this project,” Andrew says proudly.
“The materials used are robust and designed to weather. We designed the home to maximise passive solar principles and used double-glazed windows throughout. Solar panels with micro-inverters cover the roof providing electric hydronic — no fossil fuels, no gas.
“A large cylinder concrete water tank collects rainwater, captured and reused to flush toilets and water the garden.
“The block had previously been cleared and connected to the road for services. Construction was difficult as shifting sands required deep footings. Landscaping and retaining the existing fauna was especially important to minimise sand blasting caused by wind.”
Photography — Derek Swalwell
Architects — Andrew Maynard, Mark Austin, Ray Dinh: Austin Maynard Architects
Builder — Spence Constructions
Landscape Designer — Jane Burke, Bush Restoration
Engineer — OPS Engineers
What a unique and truly amazing home. We loved taking a look through St Andrews beach shack and thanks Andrew from Austin Maynard Architects for showing us around. Discover more projects from this talented team on their website or take a scroll through their Instagram account.