DCM, architects Denton Corker & Marshall, were briefed to design a beach house for Garry Emery, graphic designer, on a piece of land within the tightly-controlled estate of one of Cape Schank’s private golf clubs. Not only did the architects have to contend with rigorous local planning dictates and extremes of climate, they had to negotiate an aesthetic that would sit happily between the surreal of the contrived golf greens and the wild of the surrounding tea-treed terrain. Their response was a simple black-clad rectangular prism, whose extruded and slightly twisted appearance mimics the slope of the land and reiterates the horizon line. This prism, with its simple sequential plan of living room, dining-room kitchen and master bedroom, has been raised above ground to maximise exposure to the breathtaking sea vistas. It appears at one end to rest its bulk against an escarpment and at the other, to teeter on two spindly steel legs. Nestling under the belly of this black beast is a smaller box clad in the sand coloured tones of the surrounding dunes. It houses two guest bedrooms, a guest bathroom and a laundry. Entrance to the house is accessed at this ground level, up a staircase that deposits visitors at the living zone’s edge. True to Emery’s disciplined graphic style this zone is not noted for its flamboyant decorative flourishes and attention seeking details (no artwork on any walls), but has been made comfortable with clean-lined functional pieces that do not distract from the drama of the framed landscape. Only the sculptural, cubic forms of the kitchen joinery units interrupt the open plan of this space, creating seclusion for master bedroom and ensuite. In this private zone, Emery can take a shower overlooking the undulating terrain that sweeps down to the beach. For this self-described workaholic it’s a fantastic way to wash off the worries of the world.
All materials used are simple, serviceable in a beach environment, and capable of expressing the signature refinement of both client and architects’ style. The floors are polished concrete, the kitchen cupboards are a light beech and the bench tops are stainless steel. This cool, monochromatic palette might not ordinarily make for nurturing spaces, but the house is surprisingly intimate. According to Emery it’s a great viewing platform for dramas both natural and man-made – those that play out on the golf hole below rate as the most entertaining.