Good Spaces - Dunalley House

Good Spaces - Dunalley House

Surely there is no space as good as one that is in harmony with its environment; however beautiful, however harsh.

After bush fires destroyed the holiday home of a young family in the 2013 Dunalley bushfires in Tasmania, it was essential that the rebuild did just that; balance beauty with the potential to stand against the harshest of what Mother Nature has to offer.

On a moderate budget and tight time frame, the rebuild of Dunalley House had to be able to weather the elements of a remote coastline and bushland regularly exposed to heavy wind, rain, sun and on occasion, devastating fire.

Dunalley House viewed from above

Designed by Stuart Tanner Architects, the solution was a modular building of precast concrete, steel and glass; both pragmatic and beautiful, offering a pavilion for living and a bunker for sleeping, separated by a long deck that extends to an isolated fire dish, far enough away from the house to offer a feeling of safety, yet close enough to be a constant reminder to be aware of the unyielding power of nature.


Concrete and glass structure of the house

Made from precast concrete, steel and glass, the new home was designed to be both “robust” and defensible, yet also feel like it was “floating on the water” - perfectly in balance with the elements; stretching out to almost touch the sea, making the most of the extensive landscape vista and vast expanse of the sky and water, while also being able to withstand fire.

The 12 metre expanse of toughened glass windows sandwiched between concrete slabs was no accident either; protecting the property from north-westerly winds but also making the home feel like part of the landscape and the lifestyle feel like one that’s truly immersed in the simplest pleasures life has to offer.

A modern house built with simplicity and minimalism in mind

The quiet and understated interior, including a minimalist bathroom with a freestanding bath and floor-to-ceiling glazed wall not only allows you to feel like you’re bathing right in the midst of the elements but also allows for contemplation of changing light and weather, perfectly pairing innovation with efficiency, functionality with comfort, and drama with the deepest humility.

Dunalley House is solid proof that the good things in life, including the good spaces, really can be simple and functional as well as stunningly beautiful.

Photography: Brett Boardman