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Sorrento Couta Boat Sailing Club

Celebrating the history and material iconography of the Mornington Peninsula, this project reflects on the traditions of timber boatbuilding and maritime navigation.

  • Client Brief

    This is the redevelopment of an existing site containing old clubhouse buildings marked for demolition. Won through a limited design competition, the proposal makes a point of minimising the environmental and visual impact on its site, whilst remaining conscious of the inherent social, historical and community-based importance of the facility.

    Design Response

    Conceptually, the project was conceived as a building having two fronts – one addressing the sea, the other the upper level carpark on the cliff edge behind. As a result, the acute angling of the building’s form means that it can generously present itself to these (main) approaches without appearing bulky when viewed end on – ie. from up and down the beach.

    Intelligent use of the site’s topography enables the upper level club functions (administration, dining/catering, bar etc.) to be accessed from the carpark (including wheelchair ramp access), whilst the lower level (adjacent the boat ramp) contains storage, change rooms, youth lounge, beach kiosk and first aid facilities.

    As a scheme, it consolidates its site by amalgamating the two former clubhouse buildings into a single facility which avoids unnecessary physical disturbance of the land through the use of existing excavations, and by minimising disruption of indigenous vegetation. It also adopts the ESD principals of rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling, and incorporates ‘double-wall’ louvre ventilation to the east and west facades according to natural ventilation principals.

    In material terms, the project presents itself as part of the historical and material iconography of the Nepean Peninsula – particularly in the use of striated timber typically displayed in the form of coastal markers and beacons. Hence there is an intention to use timber in way which connects these iconic observations with the traditions of timber boatbuilding.

    The project necessarily involved extensive consultation with all client and local interest groups including the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Parks Victoria, Southern Peninsula Rescue Service, Sorrento Chamber of Commerce and the Sorrento Historical Society.

  • Sailing Clubhouse Design Specifications

    Services Provided

    • Detailed Concept Design


    Workshop Architecture


    Project Director: James Staughton
    Project Team: James Staughton, Stephen Staughton, Michael Roper
    Visualisation: Workshop Architecture

    Date completed



    Sorrento, Victoria

  • AR Next (42 Emerging Australian Architects), Architectural Review Australia, Issue 094, 2005

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