The winners for the Residential Architecture Award in the houses category is John Wardle Architects; Fergus Scott Architects with Peter Stutchbury Architecture; Robert Simeoni Architects Owen and Vokes; Kerstin Thompson Architects; Sam Crawford Architects.

The Shearer's Quarters designed by John Wardle Architects took out the Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture for Houses.

The jury said:

"The Shearer’s Quarters is located on Waterview, a historic farming property on North Bruny Island – land first granted to Captain James Kelly in 1840. The lodgings have a wonderful sense of spirit, tactility and purpose; the use of applewood cladding throughout the interior gives a rare sense of warmth, simplicity and humility to the internal spaces. The jury found The Shearer’s Quarters to be pure poetry.

The building provides accommodation for travelling shearers as well as rural contractors and JWA staff. The plan transforms along its length to shift its profile from a slender skillion roof at the west to a broad gable at the east. It is clad externally in galvanized iron and internally it is lined entirely with timber. It appears as a very simple form; an agricultural shed in the landscape. A detached brick chimney forms a dialogue with those of the adjoining 1840's dwelling. The resolution of detail is extremely sophisticated. The placement of apertures, which provide dramatic views and a sense of place, and the plan layout as a whole, are composed so that The Shearer’s Quarters harmonises completely with its rural setting.

There have been extensive environmental initiatives undertaken on the property, including significant indigenous tree planting. The building occupies a small footprint, and is designed so that passive heating and cooling make it comfortable year round. It employs operable ventilation louvres, double glazing, rainwater collection, on-site wastewater treatment and solar hot water. There has been extensive use of recycled and sustainably harvested timber and handmade bricks in its construction."

Photography by Trevor Mein


Fergus Scott Architects with Peter Stutchbury Architecture have won the National Award for Residential Architecture for Houses for Cliff Face House.

The jury said:

"Cliff Face is attuned to both its function and its spectacular site. Located on the eastern edge of Pittwater, the steep site is dominated by a sandstone cliff running powerfully north-south and parallel with the bay. The location of the new building below and against the rock face allows for subtle management of the site.

One descends from the road onto a courtyard platform that accommodates the landscape, the building and the aspect. The descent is a hospitable stair that is responsive to the site’s qualities and which provides easy access all the way to the water’s edge below.

House and landscape are assimilated such that the rock face becomes the wall of several rooms. The structure is reminiscent of temporary scaffolds once placed against large sandstone buildings, but here the roles are reversed – the building provides a scaffold for the rock face.

Repetition offers cost efficiencies and a restrained palette engages users with the richness of the site. The building has a rough-smooth ecology, like an oyster. Cliff Face is an easy place, where a couple may enjoy life and views on the upper level, moving down as visitors or waterfront access demand."

Photography by Michael Nicholson


A National Commendation for Residential Architecture for Houses has been awarded to Robert Simeoni Architects for the design of Queensberry Street House.

The jury said:

"Located on the site of a former cheese factory, the Queensberry Street House highlights the nuances of the surrounding context. The subtle play of brick patterning signals a careful consideration for the craft of building. Formally, the building sways between industrial and residential, providing a level of ambiguity in keeping with a corner laneway condition.

A sense of retreat takes over upon entry through the industrial galvanised steel door. A vertical courtyard allows penetration of natural light to the spaces above and below. A series of planes and large sliding ‘walls’ define myriad intricate spaces. Pockets of folding planes on the ground level allow for privacy while connecting users to the spaces beyond; this interconnected environment nurtures the inhabitant.

The upper floor is dedicated to communal living, with the spaces separated by the glazed courtyard. An industrial palette is softened by swathes of cloud-like curtains. On the eastern facade, large perforated screens are drawn by winch to the desired location, providing screening from the sun, privacy when required and a textural aspect out to the inner-suburban landscape of North Melbourne."

Photography by John Gollings


Architecture firm Owen and Vokes, has won a National Commendation for Residential Architecture for the project Four-Room Cottage.

The jury said:

"A four-room workers cottage, typical of the type found in the inner suburbs of Brisbane, has been sensitively, ingeniously and economically adapted for contemporary family living. The project demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of the original typology in its plan form, relationship to the site and climate, and its materials, detailing and scale.

The central core rooms of the cottage are returned to an open-ended program to be reoccupied as bedrooms and living spaces. Utilities and wet areas line the periphery of an existing side veranda, and a new kitchen and laundry are housed in a one-room longitudinal extension.

The compact plan maximises the benefits of sunlight, breezes, cross-ventilation and indoor/outdoor living. Vistas are skilfully framed by the spaces, controlled for privacy, and create an illusion of greater space. Inventive and sympathetic joinery in the spirit of the original house ensures flexibility of use.

An external brick fireplace and brick-paved plateau at the rear of the site are the focus for outdoor living and successfully anchor the lightweight house to the sloping site."

Photography by Jon Linkins


A National Commendation for Residential Architecture for Houses has been awarded to Big Hill by Kerstin Thompson Architects.

The jury said:

"Perched above the Great Ocean Road in coastal Victoria, Big Hill sits firmly within its site. Facing south-east, the house surveys the Bass Strait through native landscape, and a curation of vistas is displayed. Arrival through the large north-facing entrance introduces the inhabitant to a series of intimate dwelling experiences. The dark, robust palette of materials heightens one’s sense of containment within the dwelling and focuses the gaze towards the portals for glimpses of the landscape.

The triangulated planning allows for the south-eastern facade to be dedicated to communal living, while the western end of the house provides carefully crafted bedroom and amenity zones. Internally, at ground level one is aware that the house is providing retainment to the landscape behind. Externally, the house stands singular and commanding in its formal arrangement, assuming the role of a wall.

This house is a reminder of how Victorian beach houses can struggle with the dilemma of facing the southern view. Through the careful articulation of space, Big Hill has successfully defined the interior as borrowed exterior."

Photography by Trevor Mein


Sam Crawford Architects won a National Commendation for Residential Architecture in Houses for Smee Schoff House.

The jury said:

"The Smee Schoff House involves alterations and additions to a Federation bungalow in Sydney’s inner west. As is common in such projects, the clients’ brief called for the removal of the dysfunctional rear portions of the house, refurbishment of the higher-quality rooms to the front and the addition of new cooking, bathing and living spaces to the rear.

This project is very much a reflection of the clients’ creativity and personalities, and of a true client/architect collaboration: both the architect and the clients took an atypical approach to the use of space, wanting neither an open-plan living space nor separate and defined rooms. As such, the kitchen is for eating, the dining room is for playing music, and the sitting room is for study. This refreshing attitude results in fluid, interlocking, multipurpose spaces, each with a distinct character.

This is a uniquely tailored house that has been designed with an eye for comfort and occupation. It is remarkably luxurious within an extremely modest budget. The skill displayed by the architect in modulating space, in creating areas specific to his clients’ needs and in the controlled interrelationship of the various spaces must be applauded."

Photography by Brett Boardman