Set on a sprawling 100 acre coastal property in Flinders, Victoria, this b.e architecture design has aged gracefully. The building was first built to capitalise on the property’s only vegetation – a row of 100-year-old Cypress trees, but since then both the physical home and its surrounding landscape have blossomed.
True to the studio’s emphasis on creating elegant, nurturing living spaces that blend harmoniously into their environment, the Meakins Road Residence is structured around a series of sunken walled courtyards to create useable outdoor areas amongst a windswept environment.
Positioned with its back to the driveway, the complexities of the building’s design are revealed as you make your way through the spaces. Entry is through the first walled courtyard and leads on to the main sleeping area and library which has been separated from the buildings central structure with a man made waterscape and a suspended glazed walkway to connect the seperate zones. Other spaces, such as the visitor bedrooms and artist’s studio look onto their own courtyards and come with their own unique views.
Revisiting the property over a decade since its debut, b.e architecture director Broderick Ely notes how the passage of time has shaped both the natural landscape of the home and its evolution as a living space; the saplings they planted are now full height trees, and the original owners have moved on, with newer inhabitants in their place.
“We always understand that our buildings need to be designed to address change – whether that is change and transition in the client it is built for or the next owner who will inhabit it in their own way. It’s good to see the Meakins Road Residence as a design it has stood the test of time,” says Ely.
The thoughtful design approach taken by b.e architecture has only become more apparent with age, continuing to demonstrate the influence of the surrounding landscape on the home and embracing its coastal culture. The extensive steel and timber exoskeleton were designed in response to the traditional wrap-around veranda of local farmhouses, while the portal frames capture and frame the panoramic views from the home.
“Our involvement with the property over time has really reinforced the idea that building a country house is not like building a house in the city” explains Ely. “Seeing the project evolve over time we became increasingly aware of elements that needed to be considered – for example, how to design gutters to keep birds off the roof because they can get stuck and block the house’s water source. As an architect, it would easy to not know the aggressive practicality required to respond to that sort of country/coastal environment.”
Having now added to the original house for the second owners, b.e have further engaged with the natural landscape influencing the design, with a walled vegetable garden, sheds and stables. While these recent changes may have added to the home, its central premise remains the same; refined rural living. As the vegetation continues to grow and the home continues to mature, we are sure this home will continue to be enriched and defined by its natural surrounds.
A glazed linkway looking out to a planted rock garden divides the central living space and the private sleeping zones, while the rear of the building unfolds to take in the extensive rural views.