Sustainability and restraint creates the Australian House of the Year

Cabbage Tree House by Peter Stutchbury Architecture was chosen as House of the Year from 477 entries. Photo: Michael Nicholson
Cabbage Tree House by Peter Stutchbury Architecture was chosen as House of the Year from 477 entries. Photo: Michael Nicholson

A cave-like home leaning into a rocky hillside in Sydney’s northern beaches has been named the 2018 Australian House of the Year.

Cabbage Tree House by Peter Stutchbury Architecture, was selected by a panel of leading industry experts for its innovative approach to sustainability and its restraint.

The design is landscape-driven and features geometric and material simplicity, including exposed concrete, steel and brickwork. 

It was lauded not only as an impressive piece of architecture, but also as a functional and welcoming home that will withstand the test of time.

“Cabbage Tree House is wonderfully aspirational, beautifully made and a joyful expression of landscape and one’s place in nature,” said one of the judges Stuart Vokes (director, Vokes and Peters).

“It was a reminder that often the critique of great architecture isn’t measured by what one does, but by what one chooses not to do.

“It’s an epic landscape setting that one could have responded to by doing too much.

“In this case, I found this act of doing less quite profound.”

Now in its eighth year, the prestigious competition recognises the most outstanding examples of Australian residential architecture and design.

This year 477 entries were submitted, an increase of six per cent from last year, with a total of 29 entries and two emerging firms receiving commendations in nine categories.

Project sizes ranged from residential homes over and under 200 square metres, apartments, as well as sustainable practice and garden and landscaping.

“We are seeing the emergence of the next generation of architects who are satisfying the market really well,” said Vokes.

“We’ve seen a huge expansion of the number of practices ready to lead the profession, which is great for news for clients. As the population expands, so is the number of architects ready to meet the design challenges of our cities.”

Cabbage Tree House, which also picked up the award for New House Over 200 Square Metres, shares honours with a collection of outstanding architectural works by firms including Breathe Architecture, Panov Scott Architects and emerging firm Brad Swartz Architects.

“Australia is witnessing a growing diversity of housing product as a consequence of changing social and economic forces,” said Vokes.

“Architects are responding with exciting examples of innovative typologies, diverse spatial scales and socially responsible models evident amongst this year’s awarded projects and practices.”

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