For the first time in four years, Australia's most prestigious residential award returned to the nation's biggest housing market.

The Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture - Houses has gone to an innovative house on Sydney's northern beaches - the Freshwater House by young Sydney husband and wife team Tony Chenchow and Stephanie Little of Chenchow Little Architects.

In describing the project, a four-bedroom home for a young family of five on a small 332 sqm site, the jury said: "The design provides an outstanding solution for an elevated site, and achieves a private compound, screened from the neighbours, yet open and expansive towards an outdoor lawn terrace, the beach and sea."

In a second major win for the couple, Chenchow Little Architects shared the National Award for Small Project Architecture for the Ang House in Sydney's Mosman (pictured below), with young Victorian firm Bellemo & Cat for their Polygreen House in the Melbourne suburb of Northcote (pictured below).

In a double scoop for fellow young Sydney-based husband and wife team Rachel Neeson and Nick Murcutt of Neeson Murcutt Architecture, the couple received National Awards for Residential Architecture for two strikingly unique houses in NSW and Victoria - the Whale Beach House at Whale in Sydney and Zac's House at Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsular (both pictured below).

The Frederick Romberg Award for Residential Architecture - Multiple Housing was presented to Melbourne-based practice Wood Marsh for the 22-storey Balencia Apartments (pictured below) on St Kilda Road in Melbourne.

The jury said: "St Kilda Road, conceived as Melbourne's grand boulevarde, was once lined by imposing houses, now largely replaced by dull high rise buildings. Balencea counters this trend, recognising the importance of its position on a corner site, and the opportunity to achieve intrigue through its fluted form and slenderness, when viewed from certain positions. The use of mysterious inky blue glass provides a heightened fragility to the sculptured skin. The architects have demonstrated sensitivity, skill and experience in negotiating an impressive balance between the commercial interests of the client, the comfort and amenity of the occupants and architecture's responsibility to the public domain. They have created an exemplary model for sophisticated multiple housing in an urban setting."

Pictured below: Chenchow Little Architect's Ang House; Polygreen House; Neeson Murcutt Architecture's Whale Beach House; Zac's House and the Balencia Apartments.