The winner of the 2016 National Architecture Award for new houses is seriously robust.
The Smart Design Studio project is the new home for artist Judith Neilson who requested the architects create a building that would last 100 years.
Upon that request, Smart Design Studio selected materials and fittings that would wear and endure, and specified operable elements that were mechanically rather than digitally driven.
The house’s shape, in particular its façade, also pays homage to it occupant. The building is deeply sculptural and according to the 2016 National Awards jury, challenges ideas about living among art and the associated aspects of public and private entertaining.
In fact, the building was considered so artistic in its form and material makeup that Neilson significantly reduced her permanent collection to be hung on its walls after recognising during construction that the house itself is in fact as much a part of her collection as the art itself.
The Awards jury noted that this was Indigo Slam’s greatest success.
The project beat a formidable field and large variety of new houses from around Australia to win the Robin Boyd Award including a project from Kennedy Nolan, NMBW Architecture Studio, Owen Architecture and Phorm Architecture + Design with Tato Architects.
View the full list of winning projects from the 2016 National Architecture Awards here.
Read the full jury citation for Indigo Slam by Smart Design Studio and see the other awarded projects in the Residential Architecture—Houses (New) category below:
The Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New)—Indigo Slam (NSW) by Smart Design Studio
Photography by Sharrin Rees
Jury citation: This new home for an art patron challenges ideas about living among art and the associated aspects of public and private entertaining. Externally, the highly resolved sculptural form of the facade appears to acknowledge a developing context, including a forthcoming gallery on the neighbouring site for the same owner. The execution of the facade is a complex association of intricacy and off-form concrete, yet to some degree it is not surprising. On entering the building, however, the visitor’s perception shifts and a series of seamless internal spaces deliver the remarkable. Built to the far boundaries, the house unfolds around a three-storey staircase hall that runs the full length of the site.
This breathtaking space is heightened by an ephemeral play of natural light cascading down from the vaulted ceiling. The ground floor is carefully defined as a semipublic space through the inclusion of a linear dining room for sixty-four guests. Above this level, the staircase begins its journey to the private domains of the house. Four bedrooms are accommodated on the first level and the living areas and private kitchen unfold in a sequence of vaulted spaces on the upper level. On first reading the interiors appear notably restrained, yet on close inspection handmade resolution is evident throughout and the level of sophistication in the interior execution is exceptional.
The interiors are further heightened by the involvement of a single furniture maker who was commissioned to craft all of the loose furniture for the house. This is a house that expresses a sense of confident completeness by excluding itself from temptations of fashion or statement. Perhaps Indigo Slam’s greatest success can be measured by the owner’s decision to significantly reduce how much of her permanent collection would be hung on the walls after recognising during construction that the house itself is in fact as much a part of her collection as the art itself. It is an exceptional and rare privilege to engage with architecture at this level.
- National Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New)—Deepdene House (VIC) by Kennedy Nolan
Photography by Kennedy Nolan
- National Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New)—Point Lonsdale House (VIC) by NMBW Architecture Studio
Photography by Peter Bennetts
- National Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New)—Rosalie House (QLD) by Owen Architecture
Photography by Toby Scott
- National Commendation for Residential Architecture – Houses (New)—House in Hamilton (QLD) by Phorm Architecture + Design with Tato Architects
Photography by Christopher Frederick Jones