Outdoor Oasis: This Broadway Garden Was Transformed Into A Coastal-Inspired Retreat

A new building houses a gym and garage. Photo / Willem-Dirk du Toit

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Project team: Jo Foong and Jamie Sormann from Foomann Architects, built by Gaia Construction.

Project summary: A new building with a garage, gym and swimming pool, designed to support and reflect the health and fitness ideals of an active family of four.

The clients: A family with two young boys who are health- and fitness-focused and love to pack up their campervan and hit the open road. They had a small and dilapidated single garage that occupied a sunny spot behind their Edwardian house in Elwood, Melbourne.

Photo / Willem-Dirk du Toit
Photo / Willem-Dirk du Toit

The brief: Wanting to make better use of the site, the brief to Foomann Architects involved the design of a new building to accommodate the family's campervan, a gym, sauna and bathroom, overlooking a new swimming pool. The resulting building reflects the family's health and fitness ideals: it's rigorous and disciplined, yet still relaxed and fun.

The solution: Positioning the building against the southern boundary freed up the north side of the property for the swimming pool and allowed sunlight into the gym. The building is set on an ordered 1.2sq m grid that determined the internal planning, paving layout and external timber strapping, which conceals the end joins of the cladding for a highly resolved finish.

Downstairs is wide and tall to fit the campervan, bikes and surfboards, while upstairs is light and open for the gym, with full-height windows providing a view over the swimming pool. The pool has a professional-grade resistance-current system for swim training.

Photo / Willem-Dirk du Toit
Photo / Willem-Dirk du Toit

The materials: The palette is environmentally and contextually appropriate. Silvertop Ash cladding has a relaxed, coastal quality and will weather gracefully. It's also the timber finish on the main house's balconies to create cohesion between old and new.

The finished product: The new building supports and reflects the family's values, providing light, healthy spaces for fitness and fun. The composition, disciplined design, rigorous detailing and coastal-inspired timber cladding provide a positive visual focus from the client's house.

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