Brand-New Oceanfront Mansion On Victoria's Coast Is A ‘Modern-Day Masterpiece’
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Brand-New Oceanfront Mansion On Victoria’s Coast Is A ‘Modern-Day Masterpiece’

The house, which feels as though it’s suspended over the water, was built to withstand the conditions it faces being so close to the ocean.

By Catherine Mchugh
Thu, Feb 11, 2021 4:14amGrey Clock 3 min

LISTING OF THE DAY

Location: Flinders, Victoria, Australia

Price: $30 million

Dubbed “Horizon,” this recently completed five-bedroom mansion is perched on a dramatic cliff edge on Australia’s Mornington Peninsula near Flinders township, about 72 kilometres south of Melbourne.

In 2015, the family of legendary Australian rules football coach Jock McHale put the property, which includes a 1920s homestead called Pinnacle Park, up for sale. According to listing agent Rob Curtain of Peninsula Sotheby’s International Realty, developer Brooke Starbuck bought it, along with multiple adjoining titles.

“Unlike all of the other allotments offered, which have restrictive zoning regulations, the five-acre homestead did not fall into the same zoning,” Mr Curtain said. “So he saw an opportunity and subdivided the land into four separate plots while maintaining the original homestead.”

Built on a cliff’s edge, the monolithic home is made of concrete and glass.

Peninsula Sotheby’s International Realty

Starbuck enlisted local craftsmen Williams Group and commercial architect Bruce Henderson to build the home. The process took five years. “He wanted to do the unique position justice and build a generational home that would withstand the harsh environment of living so close to the ocean,” Mr. Curtain said. “He also hired interior designer Mim Design for the internal fit-out based on Miriam Fanning’s renowned coastal work. It’s truly a modern-day masterpiece.”

The interiors feature St. Croix stone complemented by American oak flooring. The home’s elevated first level contains five ocean bedrooms all with en-suite bathrooms and ocean views, as well as a central chef’s kitchen, a fully appointed scullery and three living spaces oriented to maximize the views.

“The main open-plan living, kitchen, dining area is simply spectacular,” Mr. Curtain said. “The 13-foot ceilings with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a 180-degree ocean view create the most surreal feeling of being suspended over the water. It’s an architectural and engineering triumph set on a truly spectacular landholding with 335 feet of oceanfront and tremendous 270-degree ocean and rural views.”

Ample outdoor terraces provide plenty of room for al fresco dining.

Peninsula Sotheby’s International Realty

Stats

The 2000sqm home sits on a 1.25-acre lot and has five bedrooms and six full bathrooms.

Amenities

The home has the latest in technology with world-class kitchen appliances from Wolf and Sub-Zero, integrated audio-visual by Sonos, zoned hydronic floor heating and VRV heating and cooling throughout. A comprehensive security system includes keyless entry and all home technologies are controlled via Elan. The residence is also 6-star energy rated and includes a solar panel system.

An elevator connects the upper level to the lower one, which has a professional gymnasium, sauna, cinema room, wine room and a garage. There is also a second gourmet kitchen servicing an al fresco spa terrace, where a suspended 20-person spa overlooks the ocean.

Neighbourhood Notes

“The beauty of this location is the views are all water and rural surroundings as the area is better known for the farming environment,” Mr. Curtain said. “But this home is only a five-minute walk to the Flinders township, golf courses and the Flinders Bay Beach. It’s also only a 60-minute drive to Melbourne’s central business district.”

Listing Agent: Rob Curtain, Peninsula Sotheby’s International Realty



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I.M. Pei was the confident visionary behind such transformative structures as the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong and the Louvre Pyramid in Paris, but he was also humble, and for years resisted a retrospective of his work.

Pei, a Chinese-American architect who died in 2019 at 102 , would always protest any suggestion of a major exhibition, saying, “why me,” noting, too, that he was still actively at work, recalls his youngest son, Li Chung “Sandi” Pei. A decade ago, when Pei was in his mid-to-late 90s, he relented, finally telling Aric Chen, a curator at the M+ museum in Hong Kong, “all right, if you want to do it, go ahead,” Sandi says.

A sweeping retrospective, “I.M. Pei: Life Is Architecture,” will open June 29 at M+ in the city’s West Kowloon Cultural District. The exhibition of more than 300 objects, including drawings, architectural models, photographs, films, and other archival documents, will feature Pei’s influential structures, but in dialogue with his “social, cultural, and biographical trajectories, showing architecture and life to be inseparable,” the museum said in a news release.

As a Chinese citizen who moved to the U.S. in 1935 to learn architecture, Pei—whose full first name was Ieoh Ming—brought a unique cultural perspective to his work.

“His life is what’s really interesting and separates him from many other architects,” Sandi says. “He brought with him so many sensibilities, cultural connections to China, and yet he was a man of America, the West.”

Facade of the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong in a photograph commissioned by M+ in 2021.
© South Ho Siu Nam

Pei’s architectural work was significant particularly because of its emphasis on cultural institutions—from the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., to the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar—“buildings that have a major impact in their communities,” Sandi says. But he also did several urban redevelopment projects, including Kips Bay Towers in Manhattan and Society Hill in Philadelphia.

“These are all places for people,” Sandi says. “He believed in the importance of architecture as a way to bring and celebrate life. Whether it was a housing development or museum or a tall building or whatever—he really felt a responsibility to try to bring something to wherever he was working that would uplift people.”

A critical juncture in Pei’s career was 1948, when he was recruited from the Harvard Graduate School of Design (where he received a master’s degree in architecture) by New York real estate developer William Zeckendorf.

With Zeckendorf, Pei traveled across the country, meeting politicians and other “movers and shakers” from Denver and Los Angeles, to Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Boston, and New York. “He became very adept at working in that environment, where you had to know how to persuade people,” Sandi says.

During the seven-year period Pei worked with Zeckendorf, the developer fostered the growth of his architecture practice, supporting an office that included urban, industrial, graphic, and interior designers, in addition to architects and other specialists, Sandi says.

When Pei started his own practice in 1955, “he had this wealth of a firm that could do anything almost anywhere,” Sandi says. “It was an incredible springboard for what became his own practice, which had no parallel in the profession.”

According to Sandi, Chinese culture, traditions, and art were inherent to his father’s life as he grew up, and “he brought that sensibility when he came into America and it always influenced his work.” This largely showed up in the way he thought of architecture as a “play of solids and voids,” or buildings and landscape.

“He always felt that they worked together in tandem—you can’t separate one from the other—and both of them are influenced by the play of light,” Sandi says.

View of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, on the mesa, in a photograph commissioned by M+ in 2021.
© Naho Kubota

Pei also often said that “architecture follows art,” and was particularly influenced by cubism, an artistic movement exploring time and space that was practiced in the early 20th century by Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and the sculptor Jacques Lipchitz, among others. This influence is apparent in the laboratory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., and at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, N.Y. “Those two buildings, if you look at them, have a play of solid and void, which are very cubistic,” Sandi says.

Yet Sandi argues that his father didn’t have a specific architectural style. Geometry may have been a consistent feature to his work, but his projects always were designed in response to their intended site. The resulting structure emerged as almost inevitable, he says. “It just was the right solution.”

Pei also intended his buildings “not only to be themselves a magnet for life,” but also to influence the area where they existed. “He never felt that a building stood alone,” Sandi says. “Urban design, urban planning, was a very important part of his approach to architecture, always.”

After he closed his own firm to supposedly “retire” in the early 1990s, Pei worked alongside Sandi and his older brother, Chien Chung (Didi) Pei, who died late last year, at PEI Architects, formerly Pei Partnership Architects. Pei would work on his own projects, with their assistance, and would guide his sons, too. The firm had substantial involvement in the Museum of Islamic Art, among other initiatives, for instance, Sandi says.

Working with his father was fun, he says. In starting a project, Pei was often deliberately vague about his intentions. The structure would coalesce “through a process of dialogue and sketches and sometimes just having lunch over a bottle of wine,” Sandi says. “He was able to draw from each of us who was working on the project our best efforts to help to guide [it] to some kind of form.”

The M+ retrospective, which will run through Jan. 5, is divided into six areas of focus, from Pei’s upbringing and education through to his work in real estate and urban redevelopment, art and civic projects, to how he reinterpreted history through design.

Sandi, who will participate in a free public discussion moderated by exhibition co-curator Shirley Surya on the day it opens, is interested “in the opportunity to look at my father anew and to see his work in a different light now that it’s over, his last buildings are complete. You can take a full assessment of his career.”

And, he says, “I’m excited for other people to become familiar with his life.”