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Dunes by Whiting Architects


Through the creation of precincts, the existing holiday home and its disparate and uninviting spaces are given a new life, reinforcing a sense of connection throughout the home. Dunes sees a series of new works by Whiting Architects bring a sense of cohesion to a previously disjointed assortment of spaces that had evolved over time. Located in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, the home is set amongst soft sand dunes, with views that stretch out to the ocean beyond. Whiting Architects has worked to create a home that brings its occupants together, embraces its enviable location and optimises its many generous aspects.

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Built by Bartlett Constructions, with joinery by Abcraft Cabinets and styling by Calamity Jane, Dunes is a major renovation project of both the home and its surrounding landscape. The creation of cloistered outdoor entertaining areas, together with considered sheltered zones for vegetable gardens, come together with the addition of a second level to the property to access the 180-degree ocean views on offer. Through a consideration of all seasonal conditions and related climatic operability of the home, mechanisms were put in place to allow for passive comfort and user operability.

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While Dunes’ location and access to such enviable views are an asset, the harsh and unrelenting coastal conditions were also responsible for its original state of disrepair. Being a mere 150 metres from Bass Strait, the salt and sand had left the previous building in need of considerable refurbishment. The consequent approach to materiality was a response to these conditions, seeking to create a low maintenance structure where solid timber could age and weather aesthetically, while marine-grade fittings and fixtures would not have their functionality affected by corrosion over time. The use of structural steel was also galvanised to allow for durability, together with steel mesh screens, and all other fixings, to ensure protection. With corrosion-resistant porcelain tile, blockwork walls, concrete render and the expressive timber arbour, the arrangement of carefully selected parts allows for an ease of maintenance for the owner.

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Designed as a home to accommodate up to fourteen people at any one time, and at any time throughout the year, the floor plan is arranged in such a way that certain zones can be shut off when not in use. This ability to contain usability and create zones of privacy through the creation of pavilions further increases the diversity of function of the home. Dunes sees Whiting Architects create a sense of purpose and place from the initial entry, the oversized and sculptural timber arbour and the bringing together of pavilion structures on the site in a way that intelligently responds to its conditions and generously opens to the liberal ocean views at its doorstep. Photos: Derek Swalwell; Words: Bronwyn Marshall; the local project

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