It’s not your typical beach house, but this custom-built home, “Miramar“, lives up to its aim to be land art by the sea with its sleek, sharp design by internationally-acclaimed architects Wood Marsh.
The home is split into two parts and is open-plan with big windows displaying views of the Mornington Peninsular.
Tucked into the undulating topography that typifies the Mornington Peninsula, where the land transitions from a tertiary dune system into grassy farmland, this architectural icon is as much a home as an exquisite piece of sculptural land art.
Internationally acclaimed architects Wood Marsh redefine luxury lifestyle with extraordinary attention to details. From the precisely orchestrated approach, up a gently winding driveway, to the gradual revelation of the spectacular sea views from the main living zone, every aspect of the design has been treated as an opportunity.
Discretely sited and barely visible from the street, the abstracted form of the house is defined by great arcs of textured, stone walls. Within, it marries the clarity of the modernist aesthetic with the functional versatility of a sprawling homestead, while exuding a contemporary luxury that is unrivalled in the area. It is scaled to embrace extended family and friends, yet balances the expansive living areas with subtly zoned private domains, all of which are enhanced by their connection to the natural landscape.
The plan is created by two boomerang-shaped forms connected with a short, glazed corridor. To its right and left, spine-like passages arc outwards, the first housing guest accommodation, a study, exercise room, laundry and garage; the second accommodating the central living and dining areas, a two-level master wing to one side and a three-bedroom family wing to the other.
The focal point of the home is the spectacular main living area, which easily incorporates multiple functions. Its outwardly curved, glazed wall and sweeping ceiling create a pull towards the landscape and breathtaking views of the sea. To one side of this voluminous space is a beautifully appointed kitchen and, adjacent to that, a dining area; to the other is a luxurious lounge and, in between, additional opportunities to congregate, rest and enjoy the view. It is a space so vast and versatile that it can as easily accommodate a lavish party as an intimate family gathering, without any compromise.
A concealed, rounded bar and sunken, mauve-hued secondary lounge are more private, luxurious spaces off the main living area, and a pale pink, mosaic-tiled powder room is equally elegant.
Behind these, a sweeping stair ascends to the master suite a zone of unparalleled comfort and amenity, comprising an ensuite, robes and spacious bedroom with views across the native landscaping. The separate children wing, with three large bedrooms off a long sweeping corridor, offers similar luxury and amenity. Each room boasts fine finishes and framed vistas allowing constant connection to the land and location.
This is a landscape that has been carefully cultivated over generations. Commanding runs of one-hundred-year-old green and black cypress trees form lines of windbreaks along property boundaries, and glimpses of the sea can be caught between expanses of hills.
It is within this lyrical context that Wood / Marsh Architecture has crafted two projects in recent years — the celebrated Port Phillip Estate winery in Red Hill and recently a family house just outside the coastal town of Flinders.
The two projects were in the of?ce around the same time and, as such, particular ideas draw the projects together. While vastly different in scale and program, both projects reveal a consistent exploration of architectural forrn—mal
Flinders House is carefully sited at the crest of a hill and, like many Wood/ Marsh projects, is unapologetic in its monumentality and deep connection with the earth. Roger Wood explains: “We wanted the house to seem like it had been here for many years and the earth had simply eroded away and exposed its form rather than being a new addition to the landscape. The buildihg has a sense of permanence it won’t get blown away." Composed as two wings in plan, the dwelling shifts dramatically as the geometries negotiate each other and the contours of the landscape.
Its striking off-white, rendered form collects the eye and takes it along sweeping curves that shift in three dimensions. The eastern void between the wings is left open to reveal a jewel-like glass pavilion that bridges the solid forms and frames the view out to the western timber pool deck positioned to provide shelter from the prevailing winds.
An oblique approach to the dwelling is created by a blank entry through a solitary black door within the sand~rendered wall. “On arrival, the house presents a threshold to move through and, at that point, the view is revealed to you— a similar theatrical device exists at Port Phillip Estate," explains Wood.
Once inside, the curving forms afford everyone a view of the ocean. This initial denial ofvisual access heightens the drama of the release into the axial panorama of the interior view, drawing the visitor into the huge volume that forms the main shared living zone of the dwelling.
The height of this space is striking. The sweeping ceiling seeks to simultaneously compress and release the occupant through the view, and in section through the vast dimension of the volume. To the left lies a sweeping staircase — a Gone with the Wind-like gesture celebrated within the forrn — that climbs the wall to the main bedroom and sits above an enclosed bar and intimate sunken den that is embedded within the landscape so that the view sits at ground level. To the right of the main living space the ceiling dips to the dining area and lowers over the kitchen, enclosing it within a timber battened “cave” in the space to create intimacy and a sense of change in scale.
"It's the aspect outlooking at the ocean and waves that describe for us the formalilanguage for this house,” explains Wood. “As with ACCA [Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne, an earlier Wood / Marsh project], our interiors and exteriors work