Platforms for Pleasure

This work was developed as part of the Outside the Square: Beach Architecture on the Mornington Peninsula Exhibition curated and held in the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery in 2008-09. Five architectural practices were invited to speculate on the future of coastal residential architecture in the region.

This project focuses on the house as the source and physical manifestation of leisure activities. A burgeoning family home is one which offers an increasing range of distractions at inverse proportion to its occupants. The home family cinema; computer games room; spa bath and sauna; breakfast bar; and built-in stainless steel bbq have become de rigueur. The result is an explosion of floor area: from an average of 162m² in 1985 to over 264m² today. Our Australian houses match our Australian waistlines – we are the fattest country on earth.

In parallel with the expanding house footprint is the growing city periphery of Melbourne. Does Point Nepean constitute a beach getaway, or is just an extension of the St. Kilda esplanade? In this age of leisure, where does the suburban house end and the beach house begin?

Our collective vision of the locale of the beach house is a place of sunny, rolling beaches and bare feet. We place a premium on the ocean view for its promise of hot beach weather and lazy holidays. Yet only 20 days of the year average over 30 degrees.

What is the real site/sight for leisure time?

This project reconceptualises the beach house not simply as platform for living, but one for pleasure. In a logical extension of the contemporary obsession with leisure, the house provides a broad articulated landscape to accommodate such activities; one that it so large that it can longer be contained within the envelope of a conventional house.

The shift in program occurs as an alibi for a new model of sustainable architecture. One in which the enclosed envelope and energy use (for our needs) is very small, but the exposed platform and engagement with the environment (for our wants) is very large.

This is a design for the house that eats itself…


Project Team: Andrew Simpson, Owen West, Steve Hatzellis, Andrew Devine
Completed: 2008
Photography: ASA


images drawings | model