Perched on a hill overlooking the bay, this magnificent home south of Melbourne, Australia is distinguished by the synergistic visual relationship it has with the natural surroundings. Located on the Mornington Peninsula, this home sits on a sloped site with panoramic views across Port Phillip Bay.
The Mornington Peninsula is a popular local tourist area, prized for its varied beaches, water sports and scenic views. The region is also home numerous wineries. This particular forested site contained design and construction challenges such as a single story covenant and the potential for bushfires.
Working around these restrictions resulted in a spectacular 700- square-meter residence that features natural materials and melds with the landscape. Capitalizing on spectacular locations, this home is supremely serene and relaxing, both because of its nature-focused orientation and the luxurious ease of the design.
Instead of a single building, Architects Turco and Associates created a design that has two distinct sections, one for the communal living spaces and a second for the sleeping areas. In between, they linked the two sections with glass-enclosed walkways that created plentiful opportunities for unique landscaping features
The architects used a raw material palette throughout the home, which allows for an emphasis on the surrounding bushland and natural vegetation. In addition to the glass walls and plentiful windows, they used insulated precast concrete wall panels that create an ideal backdrop for featuring the carefully curated landscape plantings as well as the existing vegetation. Anodized aluminum cladding in a dark brown shade very subtly reflects the green tones of the surrounding trees and shrubs in the forest. Walkways, landscaping elements and interior features make use of local sandstone.
Amid a series of landscaped areas is a serene water feature that flows beneath the bridge sections that link the two sections of the residence. Working closely with the landscaper, a landscape architect and an arborist throughout the design process, the architects were able to create a space that integrates the architecture and the landscape.
They also retained as much of the vegetation as possible. An existing pair of established eucalyptus trees that was growing in at the center of the site was preserved as a major element in the courtyards that snake their way between the two buildings.
The two glass hallways that link the primary sleeping areas that are in the northern building with the living areas in the second building allow the residents to immerse themselves in nature as they walk through the space. The glass sides also allow light to flow from one side to the other and make the most of the views along the entire hall.
The geometry of the house was oriented to make the most of the views from the property, which led the architects to develop an angular design. A divided structure also creates a feeling of looking outward from every space, which allows the very private family to have a sense of being contained and protected.
The dark metal cladding on the back side of the home creates an angular roof form, that extends into a pair of large eaves, cantilevered over the decks for protection from the hot sun and the elements. Elevated decks at the front of the house provide sweeping views across Port Phillip Bay from the living areas and master bedroom but also help shield these rooms from the view of anyone on the street.
Inside, the home features clean lines and open spaces echoing the expanse of the sea and sky outdoors. It includes a gym, home theater, meditation room, reading room, sauna and large garage. The decor is spare yet luxurious, encouraging a feeling of relaxation and harmony with nature from every room. Among the natural materials throughout the house, Australian hardwood timber is used to add warmth to internal spaces.
In the back, window elements are positioned low in the walls to give the best views of the water and landscape. The master bathroom has a freestanding tub that is positioned in an ideal way to take advantage of those vistas.
Doors from the adjacent bedroom lead out to a private walkway, surrounded by lush vegetation. Attached to the master suite is a dedicated meditation space, enclosed by windows and a glass wall that opens to the angular terrace beyond. All these elements create an unparalleled space for disconnecting and practicing mindfulness.
In the communal section of the house, the main living areas feel just as serene and harmonious as the exterior of the home does. Natural materials with plenty of texture create a neutral palette, punctuated by the dark architectural elements and decor features, like the bar stools and pendant lights.
The views are oriented to the outdoors and the living space is centered around the fireplace and the television, which is set low into the wall to preserve the open feel. The kitchen also has an uncluttered, minimalist design, with white and wooden cabinetry hiding all the appliances and providing plenty of storage. The planked ceiling adds extra visual interest.