Citing the Bass Strait coastline and the rolling dunes of the surrounding landscape, RACV Cape Schanck Resort is very much a product of its own upbringing. Positioned within a natural saddle adjacent to Bass Strait, the resort, designed by Wood Marsh, draws from both the topography and the corrosive nature of the coastline to inform the sculptural geometry and material selection.
Wood Marsh were handed a brief that desired an architectural landmark that would entice guests and accommodate a range of existing and new user groups whilst delivering significant social, economic and environmental benefits to the region. The resort comprises 120 hotel rooms, a gym, luxury day spa, restaurants, golf club and course. The resort has enabled residents in the surrounding area a place of amenity not previously seen within the region, being able to host and cater larger conferencing and events should they be required.
The site the resort sits on has been tampered with by previous developments. The design team endeavoured to regenerate the setting, which is reflected within the entire design process. Sitting sensitively within the dune system so as to not disturb the surrounding landscape, the development was carefully managed to preserve the habitat of the local lizard and orchard species indigenous to the area.
The building seems to be of monolithic proportions from afar, with its unique form and structure evoking a sense of wonder and intrigue from onlookers. The cellular grid of the curvaceous weathering steel-clad upper levels, reminiscent of pockmarked sea cliffs, is secondary to the building's anchor, a robust hand-built locally sourced stone plinth, symbolic of the project’s focus on craftsmanship.
An entire floor of the site is partially buried in order to reduce the scale of the structure, to ensure the building does not carry an overbearing character. The geometry itself plays with perspective, extending to form a three-lobed figure reaching north from Port Phillip Bay to the Bass Strait in the south, with the full scale of the building never revealed.
The floorplan creates a series of impressive public and private spaces oriented to key views. Recreation, golf and café facilities at ground open directly to the outdoor recreation area, whilst the 25-metre indoor pool, sauna, gymnasium and luxury day spa with treatment rooms and plunge baths caters to both guests and private members.
Directly above sits the entry-level, a structurally glazed podium that reflects the landscape, creating a visual break between the plinth’s solidity and the sweeping weathering steel arcs. This level is set back with a large protective overhang, surrounded by terraces with conference facilities, restaurant, lounges and generous accommodation above, all capitalizing on the panoramic views.
An ingeniously crafted structure, RACV Cape Schanck moves beyond being simply a place for a holiday. A memorable piece of architectural flair, the benefits of the resort, particularly to the local community, are abundant. The development provides state-of-the-art facilities, with the project filling the current gap in the tourism offer in the region. Wood Marsh’s work to devise something so striking and exceptional has brought intrigue to the Mornington Peninsula that was unseen until its completion.