An architect-designed beach house on a wind-swept hill overlooking Bass Strait has won a prestigious building award.
Designed by Melbourne architect Michael Ellis, Inverloch is a family retreat with stunning views of the ocean, two hours out of Melbourne.
The building has won the award for best custom home $1-2 million in this year’s South East Master Builders Regional Building Awards.
It was the first joint project for Michael Ellis Architects and local builders SJ Vuillermin Master Builders, and was designed for a family returning to Australia after 14 years overseas.
After visiting the site and talking to locals, Mr Ellis discovered that the rural location posed the challenges of gale-force winds and poor views to the south.
The architect’s design solution was to limit views to the south by manipulating the façade, a technique inspired by a small French chapel where the passage of light and views are carefully controlled through its design.
The Ronchamp chapel is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed chapel near Paris, designed by the early modernist Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier.
“We saw Inverloch as a retreat, and that’s where the association comes back to Le Corbusier’s Ronchamp,” Mr Ellis says.
“It’s also my little tongue-in-cheek view of society that people would worship the beach more than they worship a church.”
Inverloch features materials chosen for their longevity and beauty. The weekender has a two-storey hand-laid sandstone wall, a large skylight that can be opened to act as a thermal chimney to cool the house in summer, and a handmade fireplace that the clients bought while on holiday in France.
Five different materials cover the external walls of the house, which uses technology to control the temperature and blinds via the internet before the family arrives.
It’s not the first time one of Michael Ellis Architects’ designs has received industry acclaim, with his Yellingbo Artist’s Residence being featured on LifeStyle Channel’s Grand Designs Australia.
About Michael Ellis Architects
Michael Ellis Architects is based in Elwood in Melbourne, Victoria. The studio has extensive experience in Melbourne’s south-east, but also works across metropolitan Melbourne, regional Victoria, Sydney and Perth.
Michael Ellis has designed more than 200 buildings during a 19-year career, focussing on pragmatism and artisanship.
At the heart of Mr Ellis’s designs is a careful consideration of the landscape, and a love of natural materials brought to life through skilled hands.
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