More or less 100km from Melbourne and 500km north of Adelaide in South Australia’s outback, the landscape is more than 600 million years old. The rugged peninsula, weathered peaks and rocky gorges of the Flinders Ranges forms some of the most dramatic and beautiful landscapes in the country. On Flinders’ Mornington Peninsula, this home is one of B.E Architecture’s established projects.
Driving through the Flinders Ranges and outback, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were navigating the unexplored face of Mars. Towering ancient cliffs and deep craters border dusty red roads. A place rich in Aboriginal history and home to a vast array of wildlife and countryside that provokes remarkable adventures, tiny, tranquil Flinders also inspires a retreat hideaway vibe with its architect-designed homes and gourmet dining options.
A trip to Flinders, once known as Mendi-Moke, might entail browsing the tiny township’s preserved streetscape, passing under quaint verandahs to the historic general store and post office, trying delicious wild food (like kangaroo and emu) at a famous outback pub, shopping up a storm in the antique stores and crafty corners and sleeping under the stars in a luxury tent.
The house at Whitehall Road is positioned at the crest of a hill, to take advantage of the sweeping views of the surrounding landscape. A grove of mature gum trees informs the location of the house; their tall and slender trunks countering the low horizontality of the building and providing shade to the pool and deck areas. The overriding gesture of the building is the massive drystone wall running the full length of the house. It is cut into the earth, at once anchoring the house and countering the exposure of the site.
Orientated to follow the drystone wall, the house is a series of rectilinear pavilions. Downplaying the scale of the five-bedroom house, the pavilions allow for a variety of outdoor, indoor and interstitial spaces. The character of the interstitial spaces is further emphasised through the use of fully retractable glazing and delicate cane screening.
Stone, timber, glass and render are the predominant materials. The heaviness and solidity of the stone and the scale of the timber sections provide a strong contrast to the large expanses of glass which feature throughout. Sightlines are carefully coordinated with the glazing in a sequenced revealing of the vast landscape.
Led by directors Broderick Ely, Jonathon Boucher, and Andrew Piva, the B.E Architecture team is young, dynamic and multicultural, with a range of personal interests and specialities.
Members of the firm work closely with their clients, builders, and individual contractors to ensure that the finished building expresses the client for whom it was built. The designs are quiet, yet strong, creating a response that is appropriate to its surroundings with an attention to materiality that ensures improvement over time. With more than 20 years of practice, B.E Architecture has amassed a notable body of work in various locations around Australia, with international commissions currently under development.
Projects are deeply grounded in understanding context and user experience, so that the buildings are meaningful and continue to be relevant over time. Numerous awards have recognised the firm’s work and been published widely on an international scale. The firm’s experience in creating sophisticated, timeless architecture has earned them the respect from peers, and more importantly, from clients. B.E Architecture has a long history of excellence for residential and commercial spaces.
Facts about Flinders
Flinders was the original home of Flinders Bread, available throughout Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula. Although operations are now based elsewhere, the bread is still available locally.
The Royal Australian Navy operate a weapons training facility and gunnery on West Head, with public access to this area being restricted.
Flinders Pier is popular for recreational scuba diving activities. It is home to the spectacular weedy sea dragon, as well as many other fish species including cuttlefish, large smooth rays and eagle rays, crabs and plenty of other little fish and critters.
What to do in Flinders
Take a drive along the Aboriginal Dreaming Trail. Marvel at Wilpena Pound, a shockingly large amphitheatre, created through erosion over millions of years. Look up at night for a sky show like never before. Be surrounded by ancient mountain ranges, spectacular gorges and sheltered creeks.
Features of the Town
Flinders Golf Club, a picturesque golf course built on a cliff top, a recreation reserve, a small yacht club, and a 250-metre long pier out from the protected beach, sheltered from the waters of Bass Strait by West Head. This area is popular for sailing, fishing, and other water sports.
On the southern side of West Head, the ocean breaks over the basalt rocks of Mushroom Reef Marine Sanctuary at Flinders ocean beach. Mushroom Reef hosts one of Victoria’s best intertidal and subtidal rock platform reefs, popular for beachcombing, recreational diving, snorkelling, and surfing. Several accommodation options exist, including B&Bs and hotel-motel style accommodation.
location: Flinders, South Australia
architect: B.E Architecture
photography by: Peter Clarke