Peninsula House by Wood Marsh in Australia

Project: Peninsula House
Architects: Wood Marsh
Year: 2023
Photographs by:
Timothy Kaye

Peninsula House by Wood Marsh

This house on the Australian coast is wild! Imagine a giant wall of dirt rising from the ground, then curving around a modern home. That’s the Peninsula House. Inside, it’s bright and airy thanks to a central light well. Halls lead to separate sections for relaxing, sleeping, and even making music. The big living area has super high ceilings and amazing ocean views. To blend in with the landscape, the outside is dark wood and packed earth. Inside, it’s dark too, but with pops of color peeking through the windows. It’s like a modern art piece meets a cozy beach house!

As an artistic architectural response to Australia’s coastline and the contours of the rural landscape, Peninsula House forms a dramatic sculptural relic, weathered by its context. The dwelling is located on the high point of the site, overlooking a coastal stretch of Flinders with Bass Strait beyond. Approached along a meandering driveway, a ribbon of rammed earth rises monumentally 10 meters into the air, wrapping behind the dwelling before gradually tapering and returning to the landscape. The elevation has minimal glazing and considerable thermal mass – stabilizing the heat from the afternoon sun. A notch midway along the wall forms a shadow line, subtly defining the entry.

Crossing the entry threshold, a lush, planted atrium defines the building’s axial center and allows natural light to flood into the interior. Bending hallways snake from the atrium to create three distinct zones – a living zone for entertaining, a bedroom zone, and a recreation zone. The private master bedroom sits above the living zone, accessed by a sweeping stair cloaked in darkness. The main double-height living space dramatically rises towards the glazing and expansive views of the rural terrain and ocean. The sweeping parabolic ceiling affords a unique acoustic quality to the space that accommodates the sound from the owner’s grand piano and collection of musical instruments.

Adjacent to the main living space is a large, sheltered terrace fulfilling the client’s brief to host grand poolside events with views of the valley and water. Each of the five bedrooms and main living spaces celebrates views of the rural context and surrounds. At the end of an evocative hallway, lined on one side with rammed earth and slot windows, lies a purpose-built recording studio.

The dark, natural external material palette of charred timber and rammed earth shrouds the building, selected for its robust and low-maintenance qualities. The charred battens cloak the building mass, allowing it to recede into the rural context as an enigmatic form. Internally, the thematic quality of darkness continues with black mosaic tiles, black timber battens, blackened brass, and black terrazzo flooring. There is an emphasis on the shifting nature of light and shadow along curving surfaces and forms of walls and openings. The monochromatic tones frame views of the natural colors present in the surrounding setting.

Peninsula House is envisioned in the round, to sit harmoniously in the topography of its site – its raw sculptural language belying its domestic use – an erosional remnant formed by its harsh, exposed coastal setting.

Wood Marsh


Tags: Australia, contemporary, exterior, interior, luxury, minimalist, nature, views, Wood Marsh

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