A House Built of Sand

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The Layer House by Robson Rak is a nestled into the landscape on its regional coastal Victorian site. The home captures a refined coastal atmosphere through sandy tones and a beautiful outdoor shower – but steers well clear of any dried starfish decorations! Architects Kathryn Robson and Chris Rak explain that ‘the site is close to the beach, yet doesn’t have any beach views to embrace’ so instead connects to local environment through the use of context-specific building materials.

The brief for this home was to ‘create a family home that can accommodate many guests and family members at one time.’ To achieve this, the architects created a layered approach to the sloping site, where intersecting zones produce private nooks as well as shared family spaces. The creation of internal courtyard spaces offer multiple garden views, creating a strong connection between interior and exterior, in the absence of a one singular panoramic vista.

The home is fresh, bright and generous in scale, with clever structural insertions to delineate spaces, and slivers of light cut into the ceilings. Its distinctive structured walls are constructed from rammed earth – incorporating locally sourced sand. The architects praise this environmentally sensitive construction solution – ‘rammed earth is a sustainable, honest and efficient building material that requires no maintenance and ages gracefully.’

The overall materials palette here the home’s coastal surroundings – timber, earth and a pale concrete floor. In the kitchen, a distinctive green tiled bench creates a literal island in the sea of sandy tones! The spiralling ‘cool whip’ staircase provides another visual highlight amongst the golden-hued walls.

The Layer House has been designed as a ‘quality, robust home for generations’ –  we can only imagine the joys of spending sun-drenched summers here!

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