The Split House is a new home built on the side of Mount Martha, in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.

The owners, who sold their family home in Melbourne as a first step towards downsizing, were starting afresh in the coastal location by building a retreat for the family to get together on weekends or holidays. Working closely with architecture firm BKK Architects, the owners sought a home that would not only provide them privacy but also cleverly engage with the surrounding landscape as well as maximise the breath-taking views to Port Phillip Bay.

The Split House was able to effortlessly address the owners’ brief for their new home. BKK Architects Director Simon Knott explained that they were keen to create a strong relationship to the landscape and surrounds, not just to the heroic water views (of Port Phillip Bay), but also to the small cluster of sheoaks near the entrance to the property.

Consequently, some parts of the home look like they’re buried into the site, while others are appropriately raised off the ground. The owners had also provided BKK specific details about amenities and technical aspects of the build, leaving the design to the experts.

Design highlights of the new home by BKK Architects include two simple pavilions incorporating an upper living/master bedroom area and a rumpus room/ guest bedroom area, slanting away from each other at perfect angles; two timber-clad areas occupying separate levels, following the natural contours of the site, but cleverly linked by a stairway covered with zinc panels; gap underneath welcoming views from one side of the home to the other; ample sunlight throughout, via windows and sliding glass doors; and a range of private and communal spaces to which homeowners and guests alike can retreat.

One such area is the open and inviting living room, which includes a feature wall made of Petersen D99 handmade bricks.

A big supporter of these bricks, having used them previously, Simon said the Petersen range was the perfect solution to the interior’s design intent: to achieve a handcrafted look and feel, unlike the typical factory-made finish.

With The Split House, Simon and his team at BKK created something really spectacular for their clients. Not surprisingly, The Split House received a Commendation Award at the 2016 AIA Victorian Architecture Awards for Residential Architecture – Houses New. Overend Constructions was the builder on the project.