SANCTUARY52HOUSE PROFILESPRING BEACHSANCTUARY53HOUSE PROFILESPRING BEACH
WHEN HEADING TO THE BEACH, DECISIONS ABOUT
packing are often prefaced or suffixed by the mental note“…well I won’t need that”. Four spare pairs of shoes and ahair straightener can seem a little superfluous at the best of times, let alone when all you might do is wear a track from your abode to the beach, where you promptly abandon yourfootwear and let the wind do what it likes with your hair. Architect Maria Gigney’s development of three houses on a block at Spring Beach in Orford, some 70 kilometres north-east of Hobart, is built on of the idea of leaving things behindand living more simply.To Gigney, the core of this project is “convincing peoplethat they don’t need enormous houses.” Finding the block just off the main road at Spring Beach a couple of years ago,she and her partner decided to delve into the speculativemarket, setting up a tiny development company to designand construct three strata titled dwellings on the sloping,east facing block of about 2600 square metres. An equally important idea for these buildings was to “see how far youcould take sustainability on a low budget”.The fastest route to reducing all aspects of an ecologicalfootprint is to build small; another is to increase living density so that more people and things can be accommodated in lessspace. With the second aspect covered by the strata division,Gigney trimmed each of the two-bedroom dwellings to anenclosed space of around 75 square metres. Splitting each building into two pavilions sandwiching a covered deckoffers both efficiency and generosity. The deck becomes anoutdoor living room and allows for the removal of ancillary spaces. With a bathroom placed between the two bedroomsin the sleeping pavilion, occupants either step directly intothis service space or onto the deck from their bedrooms.Importantly, this simpler mode of enclosure provides a moredirect connection with the external environment, which ispart of the unencumbered pleasure of beachside living.With overall footprint reduced, the dwellings come witha range of features that are now standard in homes built witha sustainable emphasis. The buildings are oriented to thesun, with insulated, polished slabs that soak up its warmththroughout the day. Dimensions are set out to panel sizes sothat wastage is reduced and the walls and roofs are heavily insulated to retain warmth, although the scale of each spacereduces the requirement for heating. Low opening sash windows catch sea breezes and large sliding doors facilitatecross ventilation. Water from the roofs is collected in tanks,fixtures are selected to conserve water and greywater andsewage is treated on-site.
This facade illustrates thedesign of each home: twopavilions separated by acovered deck. The windowsenable northern sun accessonto the concrete ﬂoor,utilising its thermal massto stabilise the internaltemperature. The homesare clad in Boral “Evolution”exterior plywood.
Each house is surroundedby bush, and with no fencesbetween dwellings orbordering the property,wildlife is free to roamthroughout the development.
“An important idea for these buildings was to “see how far you could take sustainability on a low budget”.