This Cylindrical Beach Dwelling Offers Crazy-Good Vibes

"Bach" is a word New Zealanders use to describe a modest holiday house — basically, what we'd call a "beach shack." When a client approached Austin Maynard Architects, they challenged the team to create a unique vacation home in the "bach" style. With a radius of about 16 feet, the cozy two-bedroom property is situated in the vast sand dunes of the serene coastline at St. Andrews Beach in Victoria's Mornington Peninsula.

Since the home has no nearby neighbors, the team took full advantage of the expansive views, constructing a circular structure with floor-to-ceiling windows and an open interior without traditional walls. The footprint is fairly cozy: The ground floor measures 839 square feet, while the top floor is about 650 square feet. Although the finished product — a modern, innovative design — is far from what we'd call a "shack," it embodies the type of easy and carefree living all beachside dwellings should have.

exterior
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credit: Derek Swalwell

Many "bach"-style homes were built in the midcentury with recycled and found materials. Continuing this spirit of sustainability, Austin Maynard Architects opted to equip the house with rooftop solar panels. A cylindrical tank on the property collects rainwater, which is used to water the garden.

living room
credit: Derek Swalwell

Equipping the house with materials that can last through a tough beach environment was essential. This included using strength-tested, double-glazed windows.

dining room
credit: Derek Swalwell

A trio of Popper pendant lights by design collective Lab De Stu echo the natural tones of the landscape. Green is a theme in the home, sprinkling lush pops of the color throughout.

dining room
credit: Derek Swalwell

One of the most challenging aspects of the construction was the shifting sand, which required the construction team to install deep footings. Inside the home, shiplap timber lining boards give the home a coastal appeal.

kitchen
credit: Derek Swalwell

The island in the kitchen even has a clever touch: Its pie shape blends into the circular flow.

staircase
credit: Derek Swalwell

A forest-green spiral staircase leads to the second floor.

bedroom
credit: Derek Swalwell

The decor is minimalist — perfect for keeping eyes on nature outside.

bedroom
credit: Derek Swalwell

A curtain can be drawn to create a bedroom for the kids.

bathroom
credit: Derek Swalwell

The bathroom features minimalist tiles created by Japanese artist Tokujin Yoshioka for Italian ceramics company Mutina.


Kate Santos

Kate Santos

After interning at Dwell magazine in San Francisco, Kate began writing about arts, design and culture for other national publications. She is based in Los Angeles and San Francisco.