campsite – douglas river

project: Campsite, Douglas River

location: Douglas River, Tasmania

description: ‘Campsite’ is a special remote place secluded within a stretch of dunes along Maclean’s Bay on the east coast. It is where an extended Tasmanian family, spanning four generations, has gathered regularly and re-created for several decades.

The original camp and gathering place of the family evolved into the first beach house in 2002 and was fondly called ‘Campsite’. The original home became recipient of both the Tasmanian Chapter RAIA Residential Architecture Award 2003, and the James Blackburn Triennial Award for Residential Architecture in 2006.

Birrelli were honoured to revisit Campsite in 2014, invited to extend and alter it for the ever changing needs of the growing family.

The challenge was to re-view the original design ideas, to plug-on whole new spaces and forms, and not dilute the core underlying design principles and values of this special home.

The original house was designed to maximise connections to place, a very beautiful coastal setting where peaceful quiet can turn to broody harsh conditions that swirl around in changing moods.

Selected views to mountain peaks are framed by windows, some are slots long and low while others are tall and slim, a dialogue exists within the walls as though a tension exists between landscape, clouds, sky, sun, moon that contrast united against an ever-present expanse of the line drawn by horizon over sea.

The residence was purposefully made as a zig-zag plan-form to provide ‘elbows’ nooks for refuge against the changing winds that bullet in unannounced from varied directions. Inside and outside connections are formed at two ground floor levels with varied threshold/door conditions set-up along the building perimeter.

New works include; upgrades to kitchen, bathrooms, a new kick arse fireplace, new doors and openings, new soft furnishings, refreshed tung-oil to old timber floors, a new deck and slab within the southern ‘elbow’ and general maintenance – all undertaken to give ‘Campsite’ a healthy and timely refresh.

The new additions and alterations enhance these important crafted connection within and around the house providing places of repose, contemplation and engagement with the sea and landscape. The new works provide now for even greater opportunities for either small or large family reunions to gather in response to aspect and prevailing weather on the day. Campsite has been re-created, re-imagined, a little bit of added excitement and new opportunities for the extending branches of a family.

New living spaces have been added sensitively to provide much need extra space for the bigger family. The new elements follow the original design intent making places as refuge – spots where family members can feel relaxed and secure within a wild and unique landscape. The ideas is to find nooks and spots to settle just like we feel when setting up camp under the stars, beside a tree, near a dune, close but removed from others all at the same time.

category: residential / Alterations and Additions

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