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    A&D’s top 10 articles for January: From homes for empty-nesters to three-cornered dwellings

    Nicholas Rider

    With January behind us, we take a look at the top 10 stories from the month that was. 

    Click on the title to be taken to the original story, and let us know which your favourites were – or what else we should have covered.

    1.jpg1. LSD Residence: A cement and glass home for empty-nesters

    The LSD Residence was designed for a couple of soon to be empty-nesters, who required a dwelling where they could entertain visitors. The cement-heavy home in Melbourne also had to make the most of an awkward site that varied between eight and 12 metres in width.

    Designed by Davidov Partners Architects, the ground floor of the house was conceived as three distinct zones punctured by two glazed interstitial areas.

    2.jpg2. “Squeezed and defensive”: The contextual tension of Somme townhouses

    This development of two townhouses sits on a quiet cul-de-sac at one end and a beach on the other. Given the site’s contextual tension between urbanism and landscape, the design is squeezed and defensive-looking at one end, and at the other end expands while the massing breaks down toward nature. As a response to the harsh environment at the site, the material palette works on the premise of 'tough on the outside, soft on the inside’; external materials are raw, robust and no maintenance, while the interior is soft on the eye and to the touch.

    3.jpg3. Identity politics: A ‘Studio House’ with multiple functions

    Popular as the tiny house trend may be, much of the time it’s not so much a product of the zeitgeist as it is sheer necessity.

    Studio House is a tiny house. The land on which it sits measures 30 square metres – essentially the same footprint as a backyard shed. And yet, in this small space fit multiple identities.

    Zen Architects’ mission was to create a space that was both home and studio (hence the name, Studio House).

    4.jpg4. Bob Nation says he will ‘make a mark on design and culture outcomes’ in his new role

    As one of Australia’s most celebrated architects, former AIA president Bob Nation AM has now joined integrated design practice GHDWoodhead as its national design director.

    An award-winning architect with more than 40-years’ experience in all facets of architecture both nationally and internationally, Nation’s projects include the Victoria Park residential complex in Sydney, the 701-apartment World Tower in Sydney, the award-winning Nation House and Studio in Melbourne and Boyes House in Hobart.

    5.jpg5. Armadale Residence: A rough diamond

    It sounds contradictory to call a building made from 260 tons of granite ‘light’, but that’s nonetheless the defining quality of Melbourne’s Armadale Residence.

    It is exactly this contradiction between materiality and structure that B.E. Architecture was aiming for when they embarked on the project. The building is hard and rectilinear in form, but the façade has been punctuated with airy openings and its granite shell textured in a way that refracts the sun softly over its surface.

    6.jpg6. Sydney beach house a sophisticated symphony of light, space and sandstone

    Awash with natural light, Eurhythms at Coogee is the quintessential sophisticated beach house. Wide eaves, skylights and carefully placed windows direct the abundant sunlight in a slow symphony throughout the home. The play of shadows it creates is an artwork sufficient in itself to adorn the serene surfaces.

    The warm and inviting sandstone of the heritage wall at the front of the property sets the tone for this design, which exudes subtle coastal elegance. 

    7.jpg7. The otherworldly nature of Life on MAARS

    An existing late 1970s dwelling in Perth – largely of masonry (brown brick with concrete floors) – offered good thermal mass qualities, but was inward looking and had generally low ceilings. It didn’t make the most of its surrounding natural environment, and therefore, needed a little bit of work.

    This is where Maarch came into the picture. The architecture firm’s solution was a steel, glass and timber box that extends the house north into the bush. It has also allowed for breakout spaces for outdoor living.

    8.jpeg8. Has prefab disrupted the building industry?

    It’s been said that all industry disruptors are innovators, but not all innovators are disruptive. With prefabricated construction, the question of whether this 21st century process has truly shaken up Australia’s building industry is one with no clear answer.

    On the one hand, there has been a growing buzz around prefab design – the umbrella term given to any structural, architectural or service elements that are fabricated offsite in a factory. Some call it pre-built construction, others off-site construction. Then there’s modular construction, where individual prefab units are connected and built up to form an overall structure.

    9.jpg9. The unexpected peace of Malvern East 3

    The conceptual framework that Pleysier Perkins Architects conceived for Malvern East 3 was simple in theory, but required nuance in its execution. The original home was the product of a 1980s pet project, led by an engineer who had designed and built the house by (and for) himself. Although the present-day occupants wanted to retain as much of the original building fabric as possible, their needs were different – more modern, more familial – than the original scope allowed for.

     

    10.jpg10. Designing a home that gets right to the point

    A block of land – whatever the shape or size – is one of the many factors that will determine the overall design of an architectural project. This is no ground-breaking news.

    Some sites, though, are just a bit more unconventional. Take the Triangle House for instance. Built on a 180-square-metre triangular-shaped block in Perth, the three-cornered home is an example of what can be achieved with clever design on the most challenging of sites. 

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