Constructed all over the country and a calling card of many a sleepy (and not so sleepy) beach town resides the classic Australian beach house. Generally made of cheap fibro boards (sometimes timber) and painted all manner of pastel shades, these homes still signify an egalitarian nature of post war holiday making and hold an unmolested retro/modernist appeal which has nearly come full circle in appreciation.
There are people who may not consider the construction or design of the classic coastal beach house good enough to qualify for dedicated appreciation in any sphere, let alone a website such as MA, but we beg to differ. On the contrary, these homes which were some of the first in this country to display the traits of Modernist design principals namely; open plan design, larger windows, modest proportions and single pitched rooflines, also may be the only instance of these principals ever executed to such a widespread scale in this country.
It would not be extreme to suggest that these little coloured boxes made of ticky tacky are the most loved and recognised of all Australian Mid-Century design, as they house infinite weighty memories of family, Christmas, Easter and Summer holidays over the last 60 years, and at least 3 generations.
These homes also recall the romance of a life that seems to be slipping away. Coastal property prices in many towns are reaching stratospheric heights and with that, what was once an affordable, modest and casual lifestyle is highjacked. Coastal development is now hell-bent on material status symbols where a pristine, 2 storey ‘townhouse’ with an ocean view and stainless steel appliances overrides the carefree environment of rickety chairs on the patio, sleep outs filled with bunk beds, sandy bare feet in pink bathrooms and a surrounding maze of tea-trees containing of mozzies and numerous lost tennis balls. In keeping with this, of course, lurks the ever-present danger of disrespect and demolition.
So, as a pet subject, MA will continue to collect and display as many Mid-Century fibro beach houses as we can, to ensure their legacy is recorded and celebrated online, if not maintained in reality.