Karkalla Dunes

Karkalla Dunes

A unique design was demanded for this beautiful site of sand dunes wedged between the sea and environmentally significant mallee scrub.

The solution minimises disturbance of the land with two rusty steel clad pavilions appearing to hover above the Karkalla (pigface groundcover) clad dunes. An elevated open walkway spans over a gully linking the 2 structures.

The weathered pavilions, timber decking and black framing evoke images of ship wrecks or discarded machinery.

Large sliding doors and louvres allow coastal breezes to aid summer cooling and north facing double glazed window walls allow the sun to provide passive winter heating. A section of roof is pitched to an efficient angle for the solar collectors which supply most of the house’s power.  Elevated terraces at each end of the living area are shaded by operable overhead louvres increasing further the ability to adapt to and experience changing climatic conditions -a living breathing structure.

Rainwater is collected and stored in tanks which integrate into the buildings and landscape.

The owners are reinforcing their proven strong environmental credentials by propagating plant species indigenous to the area enabling complete rehabilitation of the site.

The interior of the house reflects the owners’ interest in art and craft with handmade glass bowls, distinctively detailed cabinetwork, bespoke glass splashback, concrete bench tops and a black central cylindrical wood heater.

Year Completed



Peter Barnes