The Gold and Sunshine Coasts close proximity to Brisbane provides the perfect location for the beach house, affording an escape for city dwellers. It is proposed that varying beach house plan types respond to the environment and contribute to beach life in different ways. This thesis examines the role of the plan in establishing a fit between the beach house and its coastal environment. Further it investigates the role of the plan in ordering opportunities for occupying the beach house and its site.
A survey of architect designed beach houses selected from architectural publications and built between 1970 and 2006 in South-east Queensland was conducted. This survey was investigated further to select houses with available plans and to group these according to plan types. The survey resulted in the nomination of five plan types comprising the contained, the fragmented, the courtyard, the pavilion and the linear type. Research into the common plan types was carried out to assist in the establishment of ordering principles for each plan type with respect to place, a term which encompasses territory, landscape, site, climate, aspect, view, surrounding pre-existences and use which includes functional order, patterns of use, privacy and community, and arrival and departure.
An analysis of the nominated plan types with respect to stated ordering principles was conducted and two contrasting plan types, the contained and the fragmented types were selected for further examination through studies of selected beach houses. Investigation of these plan types through description and analysis reveals how they relate to and interact with the site and coastal environment and how each provide different opportunities for the beach lifestyle. In relating to place, these two beach house plan types each offer the potential in different circumstances for a sensitive interpretation of the site, conservation of the coastal environment, appropriate climate control and appreciation of views. Functionality is achieved in each of the plan types by the creation and integration of areas for human occupation, relaxation and movement, spaces for storage of beach affects and provision for the transition from the beach to house.