The Houses Awards 2014 shortlist is out, and there is a HUGE mix of work in the running. The categories themselves are numerous, let alone the range of individual works. The winners will be announced on Friday 1st of August at Sydney’s Doltone House, Hyde Park (tickets on sale soon from the Houses Awards website).
Of course, all of the entries are very much ‘architecty’ – that is, supremely contemporary – in nature, and as such, variations between projects largely sit within the scope of planning, volumes, and detailing, as opposed to aesthetics. On the surface then, many of the individual rooms have a cross-over in materiality and finishes which site them within a certain and rather distinct design aesthetic. Don’t get me wrong, I love the architect-y look, but for me, the tricky part is getting the feeling of warmth, (which comes so easily to older, or perhaps more traditional spaces) into any new and whole-heartedly contemporary architecture (this is a discussion in itself, to be had at some other time!).
Alas, as you might imagine, my picks are those which achieve a great sense of character, memory and delight – and are as follows …
Turnaround House by Architecture Architecture
This one is clever, very clever. I am always a sucker for a courtyard house, especially one that does it so finely! The materiality here is also lovely – textured, evocative of eras gone by, warm, and yet crisp.
The architects were originally approached to extend this tiny cottage toward the rear in order to provide for more living spaces. However, the orientation of the block meant that a basic rear extension would have made for dark, south-facing interior spaces. The solution was simple and extremely elegant: remove the (potential soon-to-be) pokey inner bathroom and create in its place a courtyard space, which would then allow light into several of the house’s most used rooms. Alongside the courtyard, an extension of the main hall would provide access to a living pavilion sited at the very rear of the block. The plans (before and after) and the photographs of the finished house tell the story extremely succinctly.All images from Houses Awards, plans from Dezeen.
Kerferd Place by Whiting Architects
You might, after this blog post, get a pretty clear notion of my architectural tastes… At least, now that I’m here doing it, they’re certainly becoming obvious to me!
Look at this wonderful building! So conceptually clear, articulately detailed, and beautifully coherent. The material, colour, and interior selections are simply through the roof (as they say!).All images from Whiting Architects.
North Melbourne Townhouses by Freadman White Architects
And finally, a new build that makes it into the cut. I know that the above two projects are a combination of new and old, and as such perhaps have a bit of an edge in attaining the ever sought after feelings of character and warmth over new projects.
Having said that, Freadman White Architects have done well to create convincing spaces which are sculpted by the play of light with volumes (Le Corbusier-style). This, in combination with an approachable interior palette and workable interior/exterior spaces brings their North Melbourne Townhouses into my favourites list. There really are some wonderful and clever considerations of views and space in this project, which make each apartment’s relatively small footprint feel at once generous, private, and airy.