Maximising the sea outlook was paramount in the design of this townhouse on the Victorian coast.
These clients had a small farm on the Bellarine Peninsula and engaged Coy Yiontis Architects to design a townhouse for themselves and their children who were at school in Melbourne. How did you become involved with this project and what was the brief? The clients came to us after seeing some of our published work. They had bought the site years earlier as an investment, and wanted an easy-to-maintain home, nothing lavish or oversized, that capitalised on the views. What were the challenges of the site? It’s very flat, on a fairly busy road, so the view to the sea was partially obscured. By inverting the layout and putting the living areas and courtyard upstairs, we achieved clear views to the sea. The front window was designed to mask the traffic and give the impression that there’s nothing between the house and the beach. The upstairs courtyard provides a sheltered outdoor space and helps to create a natural breeze through the house. What are the considerations when designing a home in a coastal setting? The view, the sun and the wind. Our clients bought the property for its position and the view was of primary importance. Getting northern sunlight into the living areas when the view is to the south, and exploiting the sea breeze to cool the house in summer or protecting from the cold southwesterlies are also important. Describe the completed home and favourite design elements? This house is focused on the sea. I like the way the space flows uninterrupted from the garden through the dining, courtyard and living, giving the impression of a space far larger than it is. I also like the broad entrance stair – a theatrical entry and a place to sit with a coffee and the newspaper on a sunny day. How does the project respond to the landscape and its coastal context? It is essentially urban but the design mediates between this and the coastal location. The deep reveals thwart the western sun, the triple glazing filters the traffic noise, and the courtyard is a haven from wild summer winds. What informed the selection of furniture, fittings and finishes? Our brief was for a building that required little or no maintenance. The external materials – zinc, grey ironbark timber and raw concrete block – will endure and age gracefully. The same timber softens the interior which is pared back to complement the clients’ art collection and the view. Were the owners happy with the execution? The design responded perfectly to their brief. What is the appeal of coastal living, and particularly this location? This is Melbourne on the beach. The location has all the benefits of being by the sea with easy access to everything the city offers. coyyiontis.com.au