Aireys Inlet is a small coastal village known and loved for its quiet casual nature, a counterpoint to the higher density development creeping along the coastline from Torquay. For this project we were fortunate enough to have a site high on the cliff line with spectacular views to the famous Aireys Lighthouse, Eagle Rock, Lorne and the ocean beyond.
The house is essentially three levels, although both ground and first floor are split at key moments to take advantage of views and connect back to the landscape. A basement houses a three car garage, workshop and wine cellar. There are three bedrooms at ground level, with the master bedroom, living and kitchen on the first floor.
Central to the concept are ideas of fluidity and exploration. Between the house and the high cliff drop to the ocean are simple sand and gravel tracks, a rarity along the great ocean road. Cliff line trails rise and fall, bend and disperse like capillaries, on occasion opening up to expose exquisite hidden beaches. Our aim in this house was to emulate this fluid and permeable environment. There is no front or back, and the house is entered from various levels. The landscape undulates and continues around the house. Every turn leads to new and often surprising spaces within and around the house.
While at ground level there is a sense of embededness and continuity, the main structure of the house is perched high on the site. The wedge form barricades the building and garden from violent winds from the south, while framing views to the ocean and across the hills to Lorne in the distance.
Inside the rooms are filled with natural light. The warm, natural red Ironbark cladding is continued over internal walls. Material finishes are robust and allowed to weather naturally. Every room feels informal and inviting, as a beach house should be.
Design Team: Nicholas Byrne, John Byrne, James Jamison, Aaron Polson
Photography by Shannon McGrath
The Pavilion sits on the crest of the sites natural Amphitheatre, a generous glass wall providing spectacular views across the bush to the east. Outwardly the building blends in to the surrounding environment. Within, the performance hall is a finely tuned acoustic environment, integrating cutting edge AV technology.
Sensitivity to the beauty and unique qualities of the site was essential to our design process. The buildings scale, locality, and sculpting of the earth around the building were carefully considered to create a sense of blending. The Pavilion nestles in to the landscape, its roofline matching the ridge of a berm that sweeps around the service road to the west.
Byrne Architects design team: Nicholas Byrne, John Byrne, James Jamison, Aaron Polson. A collaboration with Clinton Murray Architects, lead architect Clinton Murray.
Photography by Robert Tacheci
Balmoral Beach House
Overlooking Balmoral Beach, Sydney, this new home is built with highly textured concrete walls. inspired by the work of Artist Isamu Noguchi, the building is sculptural in nature with its projecting volumes shifting and kinking down the site to form a continuous loop. This unconventional approach goes against the grain of terraced hillside Sydney houses. The dynamic forms engage with the street and optimise the grand views to the water while maintaining a beautiful private landscaped courtyard in the heart of the site.
Winner of 2015 Australian Institute of Architects Residential Design Award (New)
Design team: Nicholas Byrne, Polly Harbision, Vince Myson, Ralph Rembel. A collaboration with Clinton Murray Architects, lead architect Clinton Murray.
Photography by Bret Boardman
A beach house nestled in to the edge of the Angahook State Park Reserve. A timber clad ‘drum’ defines the internal living spaces, bisected with a generous deck on the upper and lower levels. Circulation occurs throughout the external spaces encouraging a sense of engagement with the natural surroundings.
Design team: Nicholas Byrne, Rob Knight, Fiona Newman. A collaboration with Clinton Murray Architects, lead architect Clinton Murray.
Photography by Shannon McGrath
This house is located on a quiet leafy street in the coastal town of Barwon Heads. Clad entirely in timber, the plan is curved at key moments to create a sense of intimacy internally and soften the outlook to the garden. The building forms a U-shape facing the north to achieve a light filled private yard.
Design team: Nicholas Byrne, Fiona Newman, Seigi Edward. A collaboration with Clinton Murray Architects, lead architect Clinton Murray.
Down the road from our 'Aireys House,' this new home uses a structured triangular geometry to frame views, shade and bring light to the internal spaces. Positioned on a challenging block, the original house was connected to the house to the north. Our design separated the two, opening up the northern facade and creating a dramatic entry experience. At the rear a double height living space opens out to the secluded private garden.
Design team: Nicholas Byrne, Michael Bradey, Aaron Polson, James Jamison. A collaboration with Clinton Murray Architects, lead architect Clinton Murray.
The quiet coastal town of Akolele NSW is the location of this holiday house constructed in the 1960's, nestled in bushland and overlooking Wallaga Lake. We were engaged to help breath new life in to the house while preserving its wonderful 'fibro-beach-shack' character.
Design team: Nicholas Byrne, Aaron Polson. A collaboration with Clinton Murray Architects, lead architect Clinton Murray.
A speculative beach house for friends in Philip Island, this house is accommodates two families with separate living quarters and a shared central zone. Inspired by Glenn Murcutt, the building materials are simple and robust, reflecting the local 'shed' vernacular.
Design Team: Nicholas Byrne, James Harbard
Currently under construction, this Toorak home integrates strong modern ideas within the beautiful existing Arts and Crafts style building.
Design Team: Nicholas Byrne, James Harbard, Aaron Polson
A speculative project for friends in Barragga Bay on the south coast of NSW. The brief was for a modest holiday home that doesn't impose on the site - more like a camp than a house. This is what we call a 'dream site', surrounded on all sides by either beach, cliffs or national park.
Design Team: Nicholas Byrne, Clinton Murray, Aaron Polson
George St House
A new project in East Melbourne, the George Street House sits on a corner site looking out to the Fitzroy Gardens. We faced the challenge of integrating the new structure with the original Arts & Crafts style home. Our aim was to create a design that was utterly modern with a finer grain which blends back in to the existing building.
Design Team: Nicholas Byrne, Michael Bradey
Mt Sturgeon Dunkeld
A very special project for the Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld, Victoria.
Four identical independent cottages sit in a row along the northern edge of the site. Our brief was simple - to create a unique luxury experience that forms a connection with the earth. For each of these cottages a path leads a short distance to a private spa. These spas are carefully composed to ensure privacy from neighbouring cottages while allowing an unimpeded and spectacular view of Mt Sturgeon.
To the south there are two cottages with an interconnecting door sitting apart from the others. A different approach was taken here, with the existing rear decks being extended and the addition of a spa for each. Screening and landscaping create a sense of privacy, with the flexibility of connecting the two decks for larger groups.
Great care was taken in the design to ensure any interventions were sensitive to the existing structures and to the beauty of the landscape.