Over the last few months, I have been liaising with three different global publishers concerning three exclusive books. One of the projects is a unique book about Australian Architecture, which was very challenging but ultimately very rewarding. To complicate things even further I am English and my editor is located in Pennsylvania in the United States. Originally I compiled a broad list of potential residences, displaying many different building techniques. However, to ensure cohesion we decided it was prudent to involve renowned architect and university professor Phil Harris to curate a shortlist. Fortunately, a couple of projects from Melbourne based practise Austin Maynard made the final cut.

What makes Austin Maynard so special is their ability to create amazing solutions on restricted plots. Their award-winning ‘Toy Management’ house has featured on many TV shows and in international magazines (including my forthcoming book). It illustrates why it is prudent to employ a great architect to magically conjure up space. In this instance, the floor was raised to facilitate ingenious multi-purpose storage and modular seating area. Certainly, I was wowed by this innovative residence and delighted by one of their latest projects called the ‘St Andrews Beach House’.

Normally architects would steer away from circular buildings because of the obvious challenges. However, Austin Maynard (Andrew Maynard, Mark Austin, Ray Dinh have embraced it and created the ultimate holiday home. This residence is literally constructed on sand on a desolate beach. It is the ultimate retreat and me personally envious of the what the owners have acquired.

In the scheme of things, ‘St Andrews Beach House’ is pretty small in comparison to many Australian properties. In total the home is only 139 square metres (ground floor 78m2 / first floor 61m2) and has two bedrooms. However, because the layout is open plan and devoid of corridors, it appears much larger. The abundant use of timber internally and externally is an absolute triumph. In such a contained space every detail has been meticulously considered and the end result is outstanding. In my opinion, the design is so effective that I feel this building would also work in a suburban setting.

 

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