Exposed oceanfront promenades and remote historic streetscapes provide a very South Australian context for this year’s residential entries in the Australian Institute of Architecture Awards.
In the coastal category, Tridente Boyce’s “Henley Residence” stands out with its bold, brooding shape perched on a steep, elevated sand hill. Three distinct residential zones respond to the prevailing topography, while an elegant cantilevered staircase forms the striking internal feature.
Located on the busy stretch of coast between Brighton and Hove, Black Rabbit’s “number 106a” is very much out in the open, its multiple monochromatic aspects say “Look at me…I’m a little different!”
Decorated with neutral tones and textures, the light, airy interior creates an easy transition between living, coziness and personal spaces to support an inspiring home-based lifestyle.
Further south along the coast, BB Architects’ ‘Aldinga Beach House’ has been designed to serve as a holiday home for several generations and to become a primary residence in the longer term.
In a generous design on this large esplanade block, the main residential and entertainment areas offer expansive ocean views, while the self-contained guest quarters embrace the hillside aspect to the east. A pool and spa are nestled on the north side of the house, avoiding the prevailing winds and capturing the winter sun.
Even more grandiose is another “forever home” with space to accommodate current and future generations in Balhannah. Atelier Bond’s aptly named “Big House on the Hill” evokes a luxury tourist resort, stretching 65 meters through three different pavilions with uninterrupted views of Adelaide Hills from every room.
A 6m high compacted earth spine provides texture, strength and thermal stability as well as fire resistance in this famous bushfire zone. Shared living areas are kept warm with operable double glazed windows and a large fireplace.
The roofline of the “Big House” slopes upwards and flips up to capture the full morning sun, while a carefully thought-out texture mix softens the interior, shaping intimate experiences on a grand scale.
In the milieu of the heritage streetscape come a number of contemporary architectural additions that respond to their surroundings in distinctive ways.
At the understated end of the spectrum is Max Pritchard Gunner’s “Brook Bridge” in Willunga, which disappears behind a cluster of silver birch trees in deference to its older heritage-listed neighbor. Behind the hidden facade, a delightfully simple linear house with expansive eaves spans the creek and garden.
Winter light and double glazing on the north side keep occupants warm, while the overhang provides protection in summer, in a typically cheerful Pritchard Gunner design.
Back in town, the imaginative approaches of Das Studio, Con Bastiras and Ashley Halliday Architects reflect the rhythm, shapes and detailing of their respective neighborhoods of character, while producing solutions that are uncompromisingly contemporary.
Das Studio’s “Iron Chef” house in Millswood uses a double height to create a generous connection between levels – overlooking the red gum behind – while Bastiras discreetly extends a second floor below the hipped roofline of his “Norwood House” stops .
Two gabled pavilions are perpendicular to each other in Halliday’s “Parkside Residence”, creating interstitial spaces that break down the masses and incorporate the garden landscape. The main living pavilion here follows its gabled roof shape with a steel portal frame, while textured oak ceiling slats add warmth, rhythm and perspective.
A second entry from Black Rabbit (“number 14”) confidently asserts itself in the traditional housing typology of a leafy Adelaide suburb, nodding to the original bungalow it replaced. Monochromatic juxtapositions of texture and form watch over the street, inviting visitors to enter the warm and inviting interior.
In another nearby leafy suburb, “Jacaranda House” by Architects Ink consists of a series of Modernist masonry volumes that radiate around an existing jacaranda tree. The variation in floor levels and ceiling heights, along with carefully thought-out courtyards, voids, openings and skylights, create a daily dance of light to show the textural and tonal architecture and enrich the spatial experience.
The theme of insertion continues in the apartment house category. In a hitherto neglected location between Victoria Square and Hurtle Square, Penny Place Apartments follows sister development Kodo Apartments to deliver a new inner-city residential area that integrates with the existing neighborhood and plazas via pedestrian and cycle paths and sensitive stage setbacks.
Two textbook insertions in North Adelaide and Parkside combine restoration and adaptive reuse of culturally significant heritage buildings with taller, elegant contemporary towers.
PACT architects’ residential tower at Brougham Place sits respectfully behind the re-energised house and listed stables, the use of zinc and stone hinting at the heritage context, while JPE’s One On The Park houses the state-protected St Margaret’s House in a higher-density, mixed-use community. The alternating angular walls of the residential building act as openings for views of the Parklands and Adelaide hills, creating a dynamic exterior facade of light and shade.
A smaller-scale office building and a group of townhouses are derived from the heritage building, while consistency of materiality and the grouping of elements form a single identity throughout the site.
Finally, on a hill near Angaston, sits a contextual insert of a different kind. Here, three houses, organized around a central linear axis, have universal access between different levels to house four generations. The resulting series of pavilions respect traditional roof shapes and maximize northern exposure, cross ventilation and views of the township and the hillside beyond.
Most winners of the 2022 SA Architecture Awards will be announced on June 16, and the Architecture Medal (overall winner) will be announced at a live event on June 28.
Stephanie Johnston is an urban planner and freelance writer based between the city and Port Willunga.
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This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.