This Adelaide home sits in a well-established suburban hills zone, where planning requirements favour low-scale, low-density development that maintains the open character of the surrounds. 

sustainable architecture

The brief was to provide a refined family home design that affords open living flanked by lower-scale sleeping and utility zones. It was also important that the design referenced other houses in the area, while also taking advantage of the site.

“The suburb of Beaumont has a relatively long history and is built around a traditional common,” says Chris Jeffery, director of Ply Architecture.

“Blocks are typically quite large and incorporate gentle slopes as it lies in the eastern foothills which overlook the city. There are some excellent examples of original mid-20th century design in the vicinity, however existing homes are being demolished as owners subdivide their land to take advantage of the large blocks.

“There are a number of new houses being built which reference the mid-century era of the area, however most are tending towards project home standards, which favour density over open and spacious responses to individual sites. This particular design is also on a subdivided lot, however the original house was dilapidated and took little advantage of the inherent site aspects.”

The main element of the design is the central, open multi-function living area, which contains the highest volume and acts as the focal point of the design. The space uses glazed fa├žades which maximise the site aspect and set up the simplified roof geometry that is expressed in the main elevations. 

“A strong influence is the mid century vernacular of the area, which is inherent in the functional planning as well as material compositions and minimalist detailing,” says Jeffery.

“[The house] was built as an investment property for the land owner, so there needed to be inherent cost-effective measures in the construction, requiring inventive use of common residential construction techniques and a pragmatic structural solution. External landscaping is also carefully considered in the overall response to the square shape of the site, allowing interior to exterior spatial flows.”


As the site has an east-west orientation, the architect has provided extensive glazing to the north and south sides of the house to achieve passive solar heating and natural ventilation. Efficient planning has also been used to minimise the home’s built footprint and avoid excessive embodied energy. The home also features high R-values in the external fabric and internal thermal mass, as well as significant water capture for re-use on site.