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    Six states, six residences: which will be Australia’s best new house of 2014?

    Nathan Johnson

    Following the positive (and negative) feedback regarding our provocative article State vs. State: Australia’s six best commercial projects for 2014, we’ve once again pitted the finest of Australia’s architecture projects against each other in the state versus state format.

    Each of the below residential projects were winners of the Residential Architecture category at their respective State Architecture Awards. Take a look and hazard a guess to which project might take the honour of Australia’s top residence for 2014 at the November National Architecture Awards.

    Leave your comments below.

    Griffith House by Popov Bass Architects, New South Wales (Photography: Peter Barnes)

    Popov Bass Architects have spatially defined Griffith House with a repetitive series of precast concrete vaults that demarcate the home’s spaces and rooms into different functions. 

    The thermal mass of precast concrete and masonry also responds to the widely fluctuating temperatures of the semi-arid Griffith climate.

    Fine timber detailing in the openings, recesses, doors and wall panels combine with natural lighting via courtyards and skylights to give the project warmth. The courtyards also create a spatial separation between all the inhabitable rooms which are northern facing.

    Solar panels provide hydronic heating to the interior and photovoltaic panels produce electricity.


    Stamp House – Charles Wright Architects, Queensland (Photography: Patrick Bingham Hall)

    Charles Wright Architects designed Stamp House to be carbon neutral quite simply because they had to. Located in an off-grid location on 26 hectares of beach front land in the Daintree, the house showcases contemporary innovations in prefab construction, photovoltaic energy and advanced tertiary sewerage treatment.

    The cantilevered cyclone proof structure sits over an engineered water eco-system and oscillates around a central pool & landscaped courtyard.

    From the architects:

    “Integration of Allied Disciplines was critical to the successful delivery of our vision for the project, in particular the hydraulic & structural engineering which not only facilitated the advanced sustainability initiatives but also the practical requirements for withstanding annual cyclonic weather events.”


     House at Hanging Rock by Kerstin Thompson Architects, Victoria (Photography: Trevor Mein)

    The House at Hanging Rock organises its spaces through a series of Thermomass precast concrete bands that run parallel in an east west direction and step down the escarpment. Three terraces are formed by the concrete partitions and create the living areas.  The roof is a single sweeping rhomboid that creates a low form along the hill and grades it into the surrounding landscape.

    The primary external walls are Thermomass concrete panels and the floor is an insulated concrete veneer slab. The house is self-sufficient for water supply, stormwater and sewage disposal through three buried water tanks—two for potable water and one for CFA use and irrigation. The house has solar hot water and achieves a six star energy rating. 


    Southern Outlet House by Philip M Dingemanse, Tasmania (Photography: Jonathan Wherrett)

    The architects call for this one to be a case study for the contribution of private residences to the public domain and, more broadly, the effect of architecture on small regional centres.

    The building is an entirely timber frame construct facetted by high performance rigid phenolic insulation boards and lined with FSC certified plywood.

    Photovoltaic and evacuated tube hot water heating is installed together with efficient lighting fixtures. Hot water storage is located centrally and immediately below kitchen and laundry. 


    Goolwa Beach House by Grieve Gillett, South Australia (Photography: Peter Barnes)

    Arranged as three north/south pods, the Goolwa Beach House comprises materials with an honest life expectancy. The radially sawn, sustainably sourced timber cladding is designed to weather over time and has a service life of 60-80 years.  The house is designed so as to not disturb the natural contours of the site and its step down from the road reduces its visual mass.

    100 per cent of the roof storm water is captured in tanks located under the southern deck and is plumbed to the laundry, toilets, and external showers and taps. Soakage from the septic system irrigates the landscaped areas, which are planted with indigenous species.


    Bedfordale House by Suzanne Hunt Architect, Western Australia (Photography: Robert Frith)

    Nestled in the Perth hills, Bedfordale House reflects the retired owner’s passion for Japanese aesthetics and sustainability, and their wish to accommodate for their future aging through design measures.

    It comprises a series of stone and slate pavilions with reverse-brick veneer interiors.  The pavilions are interconnected by a curvilinear earth wall, ponds, courtyards and timber decks and covered with 26degree Canadian slate roofs seamlessly integrated with 20kW of solar PV cells.

    From the architects:

    “Uncluttered interiors, robust material detailing and minimal furnishings resonate a calm simplicity. A symbiosis between the architecture and landscape is created as gardens at the edge of rooms draw the eye outward through frameless corner windows. Interior spaces continue into courtyards creating ‘roofless rooms’ capturing the entire landscape within the domestic sphere.”

    Images: courtesy AIA.

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