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A Surprise In Ballarat's Suburbs

Architecture

Australian suburbs have historically received a pretty bad wrap – typified by Robin Boyd’s famous text The Australian Ugliness. Today’s architectural homes well and truly challenge this narrative, as Eldridge and Anderson show what can be achieved in a modest suburban plot.

We chat with Jeremy Anderson, co-director of Eldridge and Anderson (alongside Scott Eldridge) about their love of rural Victoria, the power of good design, and big ambition on small budgets.

13th August, 2018

The restrained exterior of The Ballarat House. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

The architects designed a generous and easy-to-maintain backyard. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

North-facing windows warm the inside. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Cyprus cladding and plywood joinery are functional and beautiful. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

A home built for living! Photo – Derek Swalwell.

The material palette is warm and restrained. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Calm and practical living spaces. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

A modest budget resulting in a big impact. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Natural light helps keep the home warm in Ballarat’s cold winters. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

A stunning architectural home within a suburban estate. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photography – Derek Swalwell.

Lucy Feagins
Monday 13th August 2018

Jeremy and Scott of Eldridge and Anderson architects both grew up in rural Victoria. They share a love for the natural landscape and making things from scratch. Jeremy outlines how the pair met at university – driven by their shared interest in ‘the power of good design, its effects on people, and how they see the world’… an architectural partnership was born.

The duo was interested in pursuing work that allowed them to explore their complementary skills, so when Jeremy’s parents were building a house in Ballarat, the pair jumped at the opportunity.

Jeremy describes the location of the Ballarat House as ‘in a suburban housing estate, surrounded by off-the-plan project homes’. The client’s brief was simply for a ‘comfortable place to live’ and the architects carefully developed plans for a low maintenance, refined and flexible house design.

The home unfolds from a humble entry into a generous sun-lit living space. The architect describes a ‘calmness’ here, achieved via a utilitarian design using simple, robust materials, and a focus on quality craftsmanship. Cypress cladding and plywood joinery are functional and lend a warmth to the rooms. ‘The materials are both durable and refined, and the intention was to create a calm space that achieved a sophisticated outcome within a modest budget,’ Jeremy emphasises.

The Ballarat House also offers an excellent example of what can be accomplished with a small budget. Despite initial uncertainty about how far the budget may stretch, in the end, it was this precise limitation that inspired simplicity and refinement through the design process.

For Jeremy, there’s a certain pride in achieving such an elegant solution, especially in a location where architect-designed homes are not the norm. ‘We feel our response contributes to an optimistic and disciplined possibility for the suburban estate,’ Jeremy concludes. We hope so!

‘We feel our response contributes to an optimistic and disciplined possibility for the suburban estate’. – Jeremy Anderson.

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