Rodney Moss and his wife Christina's Chiefs House at Mollymook at the south coast. Click for more photos

Mollymook beach retreat

Rodney Moss and his wife Christina's Chiefs House at Mollymook at the south coast. Photo: Ben Wrigley

  • Rodney Moss and his wife Christina's Chiefs House at Mollymook at the south coast.
  • Sliding doors open up into the external space at the Chiefs House at Mollymook.
  • The simplicity of wood and concrete creates a serene bathroom.
  • Prefabricated  components blend with the furniture at Chiefs House at Mollymook.
  • The pavilion, set among trees, is intended as a sophisticated tent at the Chiefs House at Mollymook at the south coast.
  • Rodney Moss and his wife Christina's property overlooks the Hill Top Golf Course in Mollymook.

Christina and I have a growing and extended family. We have four children who have partners and we have, to date, six grandchildren.

We wanted a place by the coast that could accommodate our family but also provide a space for Christina and me. We bought a 1960s four-bedroom fibro beach shack overlooking the Hill Top Golf Course in Mollymook for use as a studio for me and a place for the children and guests to stay.

We constructed a pavilion to the rear of the existing cottage overlooking the golf course. We call it the Chiefs House.

It is where Christina and I live when we are at the coast and is the place where we all meet for meals and family gatherings.

The intention was not to construct another house but to make it more like a sophisticated tent that seamlessly connects the inside and outside.

The siting of the fibro cottage and new pavilion creates a central community space which is enclosed, private and safe for the grandchildren.

The whole thing, which we call The Mook, is modelled on a traditional Solomon Islands family house, which consists of a group or compound of buildings around a central common space.

The Chiefs House is a small pre-fabricated pavilion. It is constructed around a steel frame that sits on concrete piers.

The pavilion has a double roof. The upper roof is like an umbrella that reduces the heat load on the structure by keeping it in shade. This roof also collects water that is stored in tanks to service a grey water system. The lower roof is a slightly curved, highly insulated prefabricated sandwich panel that further moderates the temperature within the pavilion.

Big sliding doors made from recycled timber slide on the outside of the building to allow the living areas to be opened right up into the external spaces.

The interior is lined with plywood and a heated and suspended concrete floor provides a pleasant environment during the winter months.

The architectural strength of the design is that it can be built on any site with minimal disturbance. The joy is the blending of contemporary prefabricated factory components with a highly crafted building envelope. It is a delightfully simple and resolved structure that sits quietly in its landscape setting.

The pavilion would not be what it is without structural engineer Ken Murtagh's detailed consideration of the structure and builder Pip Smith's highly crafted envelope.

We have just had the new year down here and it was a fantastic success. The open and relaxed environment worked for young and old.''

Key strength
The design concept is that it can be built on any site with minimal disturbance.