Barestone Original fibre cement panels from Cemintel® were used as cladding for Wye River House, one of three bushfire rebuild pro bono projects designed by Matt Goodman Architecture Office (MGAO) following the devastating bushfire of 2015 in the Wye River township.

A small coastal town along Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Wye River faced massive destruction in the 2015 Christmas Day bushfires that began with a lightning strike and went on to destroy 80 per cent of the township including 116 homes, which were lost together with the bushland that surrounded the town.

The owners of Wye River House had a long historical connection to the town through family and a man named Paddy Harrington.

“When we discovered that Paddy was one of the original builders who had constructed many of the town’s early fibro beach shacks, it pretty much drove the design intent of the project,” Matt Goodman of MGAO said.

“This family connection to the built fabric of the town, paired with MGAO’s interest in the vernacular beach shack typology as a reference for design, led to an exploration of simple materials, rational forms and a ‘careful carelessness’ that the original beach shack typology embodied.”

There were several key elements to the design including:

  • Four connected ‘Living Rooms’ joined to create an enfilade; the careful positioning of the joinery walls and window openings was aimed to create privacy and reinforce the identity and function of each room within an essentially open plan.
  • The openings on the Northern facade shifted slightly in relation to the function of the room, as the external deck was designed to be 'open' to the public and for chatting with neighbours.
  • The bench height window in the kitchen provides a visual connection to the street. Along with the eye level window to the living room, this ensures winter sun can penetrate deep into the plan, while providing a high level of privacy.
  • The highlight ensuite window provides daylight while keeping out prying eyes.
  • The single skillion roofed beach shack contains a three-bedroom dwelling on the right and a double-storey, one-bedroom studio holiday rental ‘Redlum Studio' on the left.

Cemintel’s Barestone Original fibre cement panels were specified by MGAO for cladding the entire home for both aesthetic and performance reasons.

“The design of this project draws heavily on local vernacular fibro beach shacks, many of which were lost in the 2015 bushfires,” Goodman said.

“The project is located in a BAL40 Bushfire zone, which requires a BAL40 compliant cladding system. Cemintel’s 9mm Barestone cladding panels installed with the Commercial ExpressWall system easily met these requirements, without the need for additional painting costs,” he explained.

“The Barestone cladding system allowed us to develop a simple skillion form. We used the Barestone cladding joints as a way to reference the board and batten cladding used in the original fibro beach shacks, yet in a modern, bushfire compliant way,” Goodman added.

Photographer: Paul Hermes