Shane O'Brien – Bachelor of Architecture

Category: Contract administration

The stylish, charming older couple were former clients when they invited me to design the major alterations and additions to their long dreamed about house on the coast. Some of the bigger issues for consideration were: respect for and retention of the existing heritage cottage; planning for the future to allow the now-extended two storey house to function on one level should accessibility become an issue; ability to close down portions of the house when the many friends and family weren’t visiting; flexible internal and external entertaining spaces; access to the superb ocean views.


The original timber framed cottage, located in a heritage precinct


Extensions to the rear of the cottage

Extensions underway to the rear of the cottage



Sympathetically renovated front facade


The rear facade of the extended timber coast house

A series of systems were incorporated to address the sustainability of the house:

  • North facing facade for passive solar access.
  • Passive ventilation stack to the lower floor laundry/store.
  • Cross flow ventilation – assisted by the breezeway.
  • Thermal mass – concrete floor slabs.
  • Compartmentalisation of the house – close off major portions of the house dependant on occupant levels.
  • 2,000 litre water storage.
  • Extensive use of timber cladding/lining and windows – recyclable material.
  • Re-use of existing storage sheds.

Internal breezeway viewed from the north facing deck

Attention was paid to future use of the building through:

  • Accessible gradients from the lower level garage to the upper floor level.
  • Installation of plumbing to a large cupboard on the upper floor to cater for fitout as a laundry.

The two storey additions to the timber cottage


Kitchen and living areas with ocean views.

To gain a clearer picture of just how much the cottage evolved through the transformation process, you can read a blog created previously.

Shane O’Brien has been designing buildings for over twenty years: large and small; awarded and noteworthy; complex and simple; modest and immodest budget; commercial, residential and hospitality in nature. Amongst the text are images of some buildings that he has been involved with in a variety of architectural practices.

A small hotel I have worked on in the past at BHI Architects

An hotel complex

He has been fortunate to have developed a good amount of hands-on experience in building, however his strengths lie in nurturing projects through the design process to their fruition in construction.

A mixed retail/commercial office building that I have worked on previously at BHI Architects

A mixed retail/commercial office building

Shane has undertaken a series of senior architectural roles up to Senior Associate level and has developed a complete skillset for design, documentation and contract administration. He has accumulated extensive experience in managing demanding residential and commercial projects and possesses highly developed stakeholder management capability.


An award winning medium density housing development

His practical understanding of the building process – he’s been around construction sites since he was a child – means the design outcome will be both livable and buildable. His passion is to craft innovative, sustainable houses designed with careful regard for the client’s brief.