The Sky’s the limit
It’s all about strong connections – and understanding a client’s preferred aesthetic when it comes to creating a beautiful home, says award-winning architect Sky Tiong from Sky Architect Studio.
Sky connected with a recent client in an unusual way – he was her architecture lecturer at university. This spectacular modern home is located in Melbourne’s Mt Eliza on the Mornington Peninsula and the owners were keen to create a contemporary take on a beach house.
His architectural firm was an obvious choice, with a portfolio of many elegant, modern homes designed and built throughout Melbourne.
“The client approached me because she liked my modern style,” says Sky. “The first thing she said to me was, ‘can you design a house for me?’ I said, ‘yes, for sure’.”
The finished project has won numerous awards, including the ‘People’s Choice Award at the 2023 Design Matters National (DMN) Building Design Awards (VIC, NSW, QLD, TAS).
Because the clients understood Sky’s design aesthetic, communication was easy and straightforward, he says. “They gave me a very simple brief,” explains Sky. “They wanted something super clean, with straight lines – minimalism. And that’s exactly the way we approach our designs. They just trusted me.”
The clients said it was about building a home for themselves and their three children: a space that fostered family connection and closeness, functioned smoothly for their daily lives and where they felt immersed in the natural surroundings.
Other elements of the wish list were equally simple: lots of full-length windows and extensive glazing to flood the home in natural light and take advantage of the views with an emphasis on indoor/outdoor living.
The house was built in a U-shape, with private bedroom wings on either side (one a parents’ retreat and the other for the kids) along with a central living area, overlooking a light-filled courtyard garden with pool. The living spaces face north, with Sky saying that the building’s orientation was designed to make sure the home captured as much natural light as possible.
Just a few minutes from the beach, the home was a new build, created as part of a subdivision of their previous home. It was built behind the existing house, but still secluded from neighbours.
With three teenage children, the floorplan was created to give the almost-grown children their own private spaces, while still encouraging family bonding in the communal living areas.
For the finishes and furnishings, the couple leaned towards a Scandinavian aesthetic with minimalist white interiors warmed by timber and other natural materials.
All external walls of the house were constructed with Hebel and Sky says that he is a big fan of the building material, specifying it for almost all his projects. Hebel’s clean lines and modern detailing work well with the contemporary style of homes that Sky Architect Studio creates, he says.
While this project only had Hebel used for the external walls, Sky says he often specifies Hebel PowerFloor when working with two-storey projects, or basements.
“Hebel is a great product to use, especially for modern designs,” he says.
“It is so durable,” he adds. “I love Hebel for noise reduction as well, and it is so strong and solid. It’s a very reliable product and such a fast install as well, compared with single brick, which can take much longer to construct.”
Another reason to choose Hebel is its solid fire rating. While this project only needed Class 1 materials, Sky says it is an ideal choice when he designs homes for areas requiring Class 2 or 3 materials, common on the Mornington Peninsula. Hebel systems achieve Fire Resistance Levels (FRLs) of 60 minutes through to 240 minutes and meet or exceed the requirements for all six Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) categories.
Sky usually finishes Hebel walls with Unitex render, which allows him to provide different textures, depending on the client, the design and the budget. This project included a smooth finish in line with its modern style.
The Mornington Peninsula beach house is exemplary of Australia’s modern lifestyle. Designed for function and family connection with a seamless tie to the outside environment, the home fits the brief of both timeless and modern.
Wanting to build your modern Australian home? Visit our Houses page
Architecture by Sky Tiong from Sky Architect Studio.
Photography by Tatjana Plitt
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