Australian architecture has become one of the most innovative and interesting areas of house design in the world. With a particular focus on sustainability and reference to the continent’s land and nature, Australian house designers are producing some amazing creations.
This post brings together 15 of the finest contemporary homes, examples of the Australian vernacular and application of traditional building materials for modern purposes. In the list we cover leading architects, and attempt to reveal the budget and cost of the projects, but in many of these high-end constructions the pricing remains undisclosed.
1. White Perrin House
Location: Bull Bay, North Bruny Island
White Perrin House is situated in an 18.2-hectare plot of the dramatically rugged east coast of North Bruny Island, off Tasmania. The designers at Dock4 used plenty of glass to open up communal areas and sensitively chosen natural timbers, including Macracarpa Pine cladding in response to the natural landscape.
In fact, the entire structure of the building is defined by the choice of location. Rather than opt for the flattest part of the site on higher ground, the owners wanted their house placed at the edge of the steepest, roughest location, which also offers the finest coastal views. To position it here the architects anchored the structure to the slope, tilting the building into the precipice, allowing the windows and decking to open onto simply breathtaking panoramas.
2. Klein Bottle House
Location: Mornington Peninsula, Central Victoria
Architect: McBride Charles Ryan
This astonishing holiday retreat was inspired both by the wooded, sandy beaches of Mornington Peninsula and the idea of the Klein Bottle, a mathematical form from which the building takes its name. The classic Klein Bottle is a structure that has a single surface with no defined inside and outside, and this is reflected in the design. Interior and exterior are blurred boundaries; walls, floors and ceiling intersect each other; and the whole building mirrors the local topography and prevailing wind patterns.
The award-winning design is also a commendably sustainable piece of architecture, with lightweight, incombustible and highly insulated structure; water harvesting systems; natural materials and energy efficient artificial lighting.
Image: Cool Hunting
3. Vader House
Architect: Andrew Maynard Architects
Sydney-based Andrew Maynard Architects designed this stunning renovation and extension of a Victorian terrace in the densely packed urban streets Melbourne. The original structure was built in the days before building regulations were introduced and includes tall enclosing walls. The modern refit makes full use of all available space and the original high boundary walls. Modern materials are nicely complimented by the exposed masonry of the original walls, while many of the new partitions are moveable so rooms can be adapted for shifting purposes. The focal point is a central courtyard with pool, lawn and sliding decking, bordered by a new extension and the vast windows of the living spaces.
4. B Hive
Location: Swan River, Perth
Architect: Hartree and Associates Architects
Hartree and Associates Architects present the B Hive, a dazzlingly original residential development at Swan River in Perth. The brief demanded a functional living space for a family of five, providing clearly defined living spaces and a form that responds to and reflects the natural environment of Swan River. The result is this beautiful concept, with a huge wrap-around 17-metre roof shelter, both enclosing the house and framing the views across the river, while a moveable glass wall discloses the internal veranda and swimming pool deck.
5. Hindmarch and Silva House
Location: Fern Tree, Hobart, Tasmania
Huddled on a thickly treed slope in Hobart, under the alpine peak of Mount Wellington, Dock4 architects conceived the Hindmarch and Silva House as a ‘mountain shed’. The project is formed from a large oblong shape, constructed on a spine wall that supports the frame and becomes an aesthetic feature. The spaces are simple yet elegant, voids are removed to open out the rooms with communal spaces on the first floor, bedrooms above. The large, fuss-free windows and rough exposed building materials all combine for an unpretentious aesthetic emphasising the mountain environment.
Image: Arch Daily
6. 57 Tivoli Road
Location: South Yarra, Melbourne
Architect: b.e. Architecture
When establishing the concept for this house, b.e. Architecture designers considered the building’s plot at the corner of a busy urban street. Responding to this, the house forms a solid bookend to the other houses in the street, a solid, almost impenetrable-looking block of rock enclosing the family’s private spaces within. Locally sourced bluestone was selected for the entire exterior, providing a durable surface and bulletproof aesthetic.
The brutal outward appearance contrasts strongly with the warm intimacy of the interior, which is largely furnished with attractive timber panelling with cranked Blackwood central staircase and cabin-style bunk beds in the guest rooms. A sliding window in the main living area opens onto views of Melbourne, taking full advantage of the space suggested by the building’s footprint.
Image: Arch Daily
7. Amalfi Residence
Location: Gold Coast, Queensland
Architect: BGD Architects
Bayden Goddard of BGD Architects created this amazing home for himself and his young family in Gold Coast, Queensland. The construction may be viewed as an experiment in the potential of contemporary Australian residential design, with a luxurious, carefully lit interior and innovative exterior. The public street-side facade is both playful and tactful, while the rear opens onto a cool stone veranda, lap pool, with views and direct access to the riverside landscape.
8. Cape Schanck House
Location: Cape Schanck, Victoria
Architect: Jackson Clements Burrows
This house commands majestic views of the Ti-Tree forests of Cape Schanck in Victoria, from its position at the crest of a massive sand dune. The northern orientation means the house enjoys the best of the sunshine, while extensive eaves and sunshades guard against over-heating in the summer months. The infinity pool provides a place for the inhabitants to relax and enjoy the scenery too. Despite its eccentric geometric layout, the house’s profile merges pleasingly with the rolling scrubby nature in which it nestles, and the design is extremely environmentally considerate.
Image: Ronen Bekerman
9. Vineyard Residence
Architect: John Wardle
This house affords splendid views of vineyards and rough outback hillocks, designed to combine crisp modern aesthetics and features with traditional materials and rural Australian style. The angular walls are of timber construction with rammed-earth filling and lightweight steelwork frames. The multi-award winning residence represents contemporary invention while keeping its roots firmly in the ancient style of rural architecture.
Image: Patrick Bingham-Hall
10. Carlton North Green House
Location: Carlton North, Melbourne
Architect: Zen Architects
When Zen Architects won the commission to design this house in the urban sprawl of Carlton North, Melbourne, their client wanted a building that represented their connection with the land and the sun. The result is an oasis of green living, environmentally considerate and also aesthetically beautiful. Lush vegetation spills from outside to in, and the boundaries of enclosure are satisfyingly vague. The deciduous plants and cross-ventilation contribute to the summer cooling system; while solar hot water, insulation and hydronic heating system maximises warmth and efficiency during the winter. A rooftop garden completes the structure, providing added insulation and extended play space.
11. Glenburn House
Location: Glenburn, Victoria
Architect: Sean Godsell Architects
Glenburn House sits semi-embedded on top of a grassy hill in the undulating landscape of Glenburn to the northeast of Melbourne. This position allows the occupants to experience the glorious local scenery, while the partly submerged structure and distinctive skin protects against seasonal winds and sun. A long oblong shape, the house is at once spacious and discreet, combining luxury and the latest digital energy management.
12. Great Wall of Warburton
Location: Warburton, Victoria
Architect: BKK Architects
This house offers an interesting conceptual design, but is also a perfect living space. A solid, mute block wall demarks the home’s territory, and visitors approaching the building through the bushland of Warburton are confronted with nothing but this blank facade. Passing through a small entry doorway, however, guests enter a series of intimate spaces with wood detailing and splendid views. Each room is lightly suspended above the ground, as are the veranda and roof spaces, with the constant accompaniment of the spine wall and marvelous countryside defining the ambiance of the house.
Image: Arch Tracker
13. Beached House
Location: Coastal Victoria
Architect: BKK Architects
The Beached House, created by BKK Architects, is a vacation retreat envisaged as a village layout, as if each space has taken its position and purpose over time, reflecting the needs of it’s inhabitants, and emerging with delicate consideration of the surrounding land and climate. BKK Architects have a history of using origami-style layouts, and in this way the building seems to unfold, at first denying then brilliantly revealing the seaside views. Exterior decks are placed to make the most of the maritime elements, while the timbered interior provides perfect spaces for holiday evenings.
Image: Chic Tip
14. Foyn-Johanson House
Location: Northcote, Melbourne
Architect: Harrison and White
This home’s elements of shape and surface structure were created according to the path and intensity of the sun, offering maximum daylight to a confined garden space while affording comfort and sun screening to occupants behind the facade. An open-plan living space fills the ground floor, with bedrooms above plus an attic space with views back into the centre of Melbourne. The design and construction of the sloping sidewall were treated as if it were a roof, completing an unusual and striking urban residency.
Image: Arch New Home
15. Perforated House
Location: Brunswick, Victoria
Architect: Kavellaris Urban Design
Finally we come to the Perforated House, a quirky yet cutting-edge design. A semi-translucent facade, patterned in the quaint decorative style of an old terrace, opens to reveal simple yet functional modern family spaces. These elements represent much of what is great about Australian home design: playfulness, traditional materials fused with sustainable, intelligent technologies and contemporary aesthetics.
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