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Dicky Beach


Conceptual Framework

In all of our work, we strive for innovation and new solutions to the problems of living with climate change in the 21st Century. The client brief was for an inter-generational resort style beach house that had to be low maintenance and built to last. We developed a highly sophisticated, engineered structure that could protect and preserve the site from erosion, storm tides and future projected cyclonic activity - whilst operating in a passive and sustainable way. Long Life cycle was the primary design philosophy and all ideas were put through a perfomance filter accordingly.

Public and Cultural Benefits

The project represents a significant investment in Dicky Beach and introduces an innovative and  contemporary architectural alternative to the local built vernacular.

Relationship of Built Form to Context

The site is adjacent to the local beachfront public reserve and Dune restoration area seperated by significant canopy trees along the adjoining boundary line. The built form is well setback from the main Wilson Street esplanade and is low-set to a maximum height of 8.5m in line with the exisiting neighbouring properties and local planning regulations. The project brief was extensive and adherance to local planning requirements directly informed the resultant design - we were happy that the building's apparent typology became ambiguous..

Program Resolution

The client's core brief was delivered - directly sampled as follows:  -  Maximise ocean views factoring height restrictions from all rooms and levels-  Function trumps Form (nice to have both)-  No or very low maintenance-  Clean not cluttered with plenty of storage space-  Ability to create multiple zones that can transform into one large open space for entertaining (picture a 120 pax sit down wedding dinner)-  Use of landscaping to restrict noise and maximise privacy without diminishing view-  Materials used should be able to withstand salt and last for 100yrs plus with low maintenance and be easy to clean. Key points to consider include;-  Salt spray – corrosion and need to clean glass-  Painting – to be avoided wherever possible-  Enable draw through of sea breeze through whole house-  The entire house will need to be fly/mosquito screened. Look to achieve this with minimal impact on visual appearance-  Wheel chair access to all areas 

Integration of Allied Disciplines

We had a select multi-disciplinary consultant team of leading professionals in their respective fields - all aspects of the project were put through an engineered filter of performance for life cycle efficiency, sustainability and comfort.

Cost / Value Outcome

The scope and complexity of the project required the design team in conjunction with the builder to provide cost options throughout the entire procurement process in order to deliver on the client's requirements whilst confirming best value for money.


Everything we do in our practice is put through a performance filter - the client brief required long life cycle efficiency as an inter-generational resort style beach house. With its location on the absolute beachfront with salt spray all materials needed to be low maintenance and robust. We engineered an encased and shaded concrete structure with highly insulated thermal mass. The passive performance of the house in this regard was key in all decision making - directly reducing power consumption via a constant ambient internal temperature year round. Beach erosion combined with future projected cyclone activity as a result of climate change also directly  informed the engineering and sustainability measures. Extensive water harvesting for recycling, solar power generation, complement the passive performance initiatives.Due to the sensitive siting of the project directly on the beachfront there were extensive ecological requirements to be handled carefully. The engineered concrete structure required significant advanced geo-technical and marine environmental advice for permits and approvals in relation to Acid Sulphate Soils, Salinity etc. - it literally acts as an extensive and deep built seawall to protect the site from ongoing beach erosion. All stormwater is captured and disbursed - harvested into large rainwater tanks where appropriate for recycling - all lightening the load to local government and public infrastructure. The beachfront required a landscaped reserve area to maintain the seaward 'A' Line where any structures are readily removable. 

Response to Client and User needs

We delivered on our client's intent for a timeless contemporary design that promotes an active, engaging lifestyle, recreational & entertainment facilities for large groups and the ability to accommodate extended family in a manner that provides a relaxing comfortable family vacation.

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