Resident architecture expert, David Hallett from Ask An Architect, gives us his opinion on the Inverloch Sand Dune House from Episode 1, Season 4 of Grand Designs Australia.
The Inverloch ‘barchan dune’ house is a precious treasure...a glinting, glistening artifact that speaks volumes about its coastal location.
Inspired by nature and the surrounding landscape, the design evokes memories of foreshore shells and sea creatures; of whaler’s shacks and farmer’s sheds...of even the colourful shelters favoured by local beach-goers to keep the sun and wind at bay.
The house owes its existence to a holy trinity of architectural vision, construction excellence and client commitment. The collaborative spirit – and camaraderie – evident between everyone involved in this three-way union demonstrates clearly how a dream can be realized.
Special praise must be reserved for the builder and his team whose attention to detail and obvious passion for their craft have realized an extraordinarily complex building. The workmanship evident in the timber ring-beam, the panelled lining, the metalwork and the joinery is quite beautiful. Glen and Kate also deserve our great respect for having the courage to trust their instincts and enable something special to happen.
Ultimately though, the building is the hero of the story.
Clearly designed from the outside in, its form derives from the forces that have shaped its environment – the sun, wind and rain. It nestles into the landscape, protecting its inhabitants from the elements as a sea-shell protects the tiny creatures that make it home.
Internally, the simplicity of forms, natural materials and muted palette create a tranquil sanctuary that nurtures and nourishes those within. Externally, the building’s sturdy carapace shields the interior from the extremes of the local climate and keeps the outside world away.
There’s a tension between the fluid, organic nature of the building and the shiny, industrial quality of its exterior that some might find confronting...it’s ‘on’ the land rather than ‘of’ it, at least for now. Time will burnish the zinc roofing to a soft grey-green, however and the landscape will claw back its territory to dull the building's hard edges. Nature will inevitably put the finishing touches to this remarkable man-made creation.
Ultimately, the success of this building can be measured by the pleasure it brings. Glen and Kate are clearly besotted by their new home...by its connection with the environment, by the comfort it provides and by the haven it offers that – quite simply – make it a joy to live in.