Australia's Austin Maynard Architects always puts an interesting spin on its projects, which is the case with this renovation and extension of a beach shack in Lorne, Victoria. In answer to the question "how could we add a clear and elevated view of the ocean without demolishing, damaging or dominating our beloved shack?" the firm added a new timber living space next to and above the old building.

In Australia, as elsewhere, charming old beach shacks like this one, called Dorman House, are regularly demolished to make way for a new luxury pad. Predictable, given that the property market puts such a premium on location, but it's a shame to lose that history.

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"There are too many beautiful old shacks being demolished, and Austin Maynard Architects won't be part of it," says the firm on its website. "We refused to have yet another Great Ocean Road shack sacrificed and replaced with a McMansion. We refused to be part of the slow erosion of the Great Ocean Road's collective cultural memory. "

Approached by a likeminded couple who wanted to upgrade their shack and get a proper ocean view without destroying its character, Austin Maynard Architects crafted a timber box and elevated it with wooden supports. The new space is poised partly over the old shack but leaves the older home untouched.

The extension is designed to weather with time and blend in with the original home, adding a kitchen, dining and living area, in addition to that all important view. Access to the new area is gained by spiral staircase and the original shack was largely left alone, except for a lick of paint, and transforming the original kitchen into a bathroom and laundry room.

Polycarbonate sheeting was used as an inexpensive cladding to surround the extension's timber support structure, creating a new utilitarian space originally intended as a kid's playroom, however the owners liked it so much that they decided to use it as their bedroom. Curtains, a sliding door, and other comforts were added.

In a bid to maximize energy-efficiency, Austin Maynard Architects ensured most of the double-glazed windows face north. A hood was also installed above the windows to shade the extension from the harsh summer sun. Finally, a large rainwater collection feeds the home's toilets and irrigation.

Source: Austin Maynard Architects

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