Housing, Homes, Residential Design, Architecture, Interior Design, Australia
Every year, ArchitectureAU publishes reviews of scores of old and new Australian homes. As the year draws to a close, here are the 10 houses and apartments that most drew our readers‚Äô attention.
10. Passivhaus Apartments by Steele Associates
There was more honesty and acknowledgement this year around the fact that architecture and its related industries have played a part in the unfolding climate crisis, with the global Architects Declare movement in particular bringing renewed focus to the nearly 40 percent of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions that originate in building and construction.
One long-touted approach to sustainable design and construction is the Passivhaus model, an invention of a German physicist, which has so far seen limited adoption in Australia due to a combination of the model‚Äôs onerous requirements and the particular environmental conditions of Australian cities.
Oliver Steele, of Steele Associates, told ArchitectureAU that he hoped that this apartment block in Sydney‚Äôs Redfern, Australia‚Äôs first to meet the Passivhaus standards, would be a ‚Äúsign of what‚Äôs possible‚ÄĚ under the model. Steele was keen to point out that, aside from the low energy requirements demanded by the operation of the apartments, the standards also resulted in living spaces that were more pleasant to inhabit.
9. Silver Street House by EHDO
This house combines off-form concrete with Australian cypress to create a playful, jolly home. The design of the house was in part a response to a number of site constraints, including a main sewer line, which diagonally bisects the site.
‚ÄúWorking with the sewer line was a help for us,‚ÄĚ said designer Dimitri Kapetas. ‚ÄúWhen you have these constraints, it‚Äôs helpful because the ‚ÄėWhat ifs?‚Äô aren‚Äôt there. It‚Äôs just a case of: ‚ÄėHow can I make the best of this scenario?‚Äô‚ÄĚ
8. Ooi House by Kerry Hill Architects
The news in January that a house by Kerry Hill on the banks of Western Australia‚Äôs Margaret River was up for sale drew a large amount of attention that was perhaps increased by the fact that the widely celebrated architect and progenitor of a school of tropical modernism had passed away in August 2018.
A ‚Äúseminal project‚ÄĚ in Australia‚Äôs modern architectural canon, the news may also have tapped into the anxiety felt by some about the fate of the country‚Äôs stock of modern homes, which diminishes every year.
The house received a Housing Commendation in the 1998 Royal Australian Institute of Architects national awards, with the jury describing it as ‚Äúa house at peace with the landscape and the horizon.‚ÄĚ It is also listed on the Institute‚Äôs register of nationally significant 20th-century architecture.
7. Cloister House by MORQ Architecture
This unusual Perth home turns its back, in a number of senses, on contemporary architectural convention, with an austere, inward-facing design that would be spooky if it wasn‚Äôt so thoughtfully assembled. Inspired by ancient Roman houses, Cloister House is centred on a lush courtyard, with the surrounding living spaces facing inward to create a highly private perimeter.
Presenting to the street as a rammed-concrete bunker that inspires curiosity about what lies within, the house has an unusual monastic quality that surprises and challenges.
6. Sly Brothers Semi by Archisoul Architects
A modest renovation of, and addition to, a pair of historic cottages in beachside Sydney, this unusual project saw Archisoul Architects working with two separate briefs and two separate clients in a complex arrangement that required a sensitive approach.
5. Daylesford Longhouse by Partners Hill
It is not surprising to find this novel building by Partners Hill attracted the attention of our readers. The Daylesford Longhouse was named the Australian House of the Year at the 2019 Houses Awards in July and then went on to win the Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture at the National Architecture Awards.
A multipurpose building, the long, prefabricated shed contains a cooking school and a working farm building in addition to the living quarters. ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs something quite magical and otherworldly about entering this space,‚ÄĚ wrote Katelin Butler in Architecture Australia. ‚ÄúBut all design decisions for this building have masterful clarity and are based on rational thought processes.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúIt turns out common sense yields all sorts of poetic pleasures,‚ÄĚ said Timothy Hill. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs great fun.‚ÄĚ