Terracotta roof tiles from Monier Roofing were chosen by Welsh + Major Architects for an award-winning home in Sydney’s inner west.

‘A house with tiles on it’, the entry at this year’s annual Think Brick Awards won the Roof Tiles Excellence Award, a new category that recognises design excellence in the use of roof tiles for both commercial and residential projects. Welsh + Major Architects were recognised for their innovative thinking and craftsmanship on this residential project.

Located in Haberfield, the Federation property was purchased by the owners because of its relatively large block of land and close proximity to Sydney’s CBD. The existing house had two yards, one located on each side that were not very well connected. Additionally, an ‘awkward garage’ that was never used and a ‘sort of upstairs space’ were key design challenges for David Welsh of Welsh + Major Architects.

The brief for the architect was to reimagine how this Federation house might best work for a family. The location of the house presented a different kind of challenge; since Haberfield lay within one of Australia’s earliest architectural conservation areas, strict planning and approvals were required from the Council.

Seeking to design a modern, contemporary home without compromising the heritage requirements, he started exploring different types of materials that could become the link between the contemporary design aesthetic and the heritage aspect.

Welsh found this connection in Monier Marseille terracotta roof tiles, enabling the owners to renovate the contemporary extension to their house consisting of the new kitchen and dining area, which were visible from the street. The terracotta roof tile became the vehicle for a contemporary solution in a heritage context, which in time will develop a patina and depth of colour in perfect harmony with its surroundings.

Welsh explained that the Council really liked the idea of using terracotta roof tiles in the renovation.

Monier terracotta roof tiles were also chosen for the authenticity of terracotta as a material, along with its natural warmth and beauty that cannot be found in other roof products. Terracotta is a natural, genuine and sustainable material that provides excellent protection against Australia’s harsh elements.

The innovative use of vertically mounted roof tiles was aesthetically appealing as they created a nice focal point from the street in addition to referencing 1970s architecture. The Monier Marseille terracotta roof tile profile matches the roof tiles of the original house, remains in-line with the heritage requirements, and also matches the roof tiles of the immediate neighbours.

In awarding this award, the Roof Tile Excellence Award jury noted: ‘The conceptual directness of this project belies its extraordinary sophistication. This is an innovative addition to a federation house that respects the qualities of the neighbourhood and reenergises the building for a new generation.’