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Presenting The Design Files + Laminex Design Awards 2020 Residential Architecture Finalists!

TDF Design Awards

Last week we announced the finalists for The Design Files + Laminex Design Awards 2020, and today we’re delving a little deeper into one of the most competitive categories – Residential Architecture!

Supported by Brickworks, the Residential Architecture category was the most popular in our awards program this year, attracting 79 truly brilliant entries! After a rigorous first round of assessment, this number has been whittled down to a shortlist of just 18 homes. To be honest, it was supposed to be 15 – but the judges implored us to extend the shortlist… there were THAT many impressive entries!

So without further ado, let’s take a look at the finalists in the Residential Architecture category! Judges John Wardle (John Wardle Architects), Rachel Nolan (Kennedy Nolan) and Karen Alcock (MAA Architects) sure have their work cut out for them!

13th July, 2020

House At Otago Bay by Topology Studio. Photo – Paul Hermes.

Topology Studio, House At Otago Bay

Located on a lazy bend of the Derwent River in Hobart, this house by Topology Studio accentuates the drama of living on the water’s edge. Connections with the landscape oscillate between enclosure and embrace. A courtyard, colonnade, ledges and terraces soften the distinction between house and landscape with a series of steps and paths.

Left: Bismarck House by Andrew Burges Architects. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Right: Beaumaris House by Clare Cousins. Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

Andrew Burges Architects, Bismarck House

The Bismarck House is the younger sibling of a pair of semi-detached dwellings in Bondi developed by the partners of Robert Plumb Build – Bill Clifton and Will Dangar – and designed by Andrew Burges Architects. The project responds to the house next door, and orchestrates the potential for social engagement between the more public areas of the house and the laneway running the northern boundary. 

Revisit our feature on this project here.

Clare Cousins Architects, Beaumaris House

Sited on a corner block, Beaumaris House by Clare Cousins Architects asserts itself with a confident yet sensitive response to a somewhat atypical suburban condition. While monolithic in nature, the house subtly reveals itself as a sensitive suburban intervention, giving vegetated life back to the streetscape, and a considered familial sanctuary to those within.

Left: Davison Street by Archier & HIP V. HYPE. Photo – Tess Kelly. Right: Glassbook House by Sibling Architecture. Photo – Kat Lu.

Archier & HIP V. HYPE, Davison Street

Three built-professional couples came together to develop three sustainable townhouses designed by Archier with an 8+ star NatHERS rating. This project is the first to be created under the ‘Collaborative Development’ blueprint by HIP V. HYPE – a model that allows collaborators to join forces to create quality, more sustainable and financially accessible townhouse-style homes in urban locations. 

Revisit our feature on this project here.

Sibling Architecture, Glassbook House

This two-storey addition to a Federation-style house in Temple, NSW by Sibling Architecture explores the home as a sanctuary that revolves around the owner’s extensive collection of books. Social spaces are choreographed around the double-height bookshelf, which sits at the centre of the house and stretches to the ceiling, cutting across the three split levels of the home. Daylight filters through the southern glass brick facade deep into the interior.

Revisit our feature on this project here.

Left: Quandong Cottage by Zana Wright. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Right: Tjuringa by Jesse Bennett Studio. Photo – Kristoffer Paulsen.

Zana Wright, Quandong Cottage

The design of this small off-the-grid dwelling comprises separate sleeping and living pavilions, with all other functions located outdoors on the undercover deck. The project by Zana Wright is nestled into a hill in the rural Byron Bay hinterland with a north aspect overlooking a billabong and lush native bush.

Revisit our feature on this project here.

Jesse Bennett Studio, Tjuringa

An adaptable new family home in Toowoomba by Jesse Bennett Studio conjuring the essence and character of a previous existing 1960s house on site.  Taking inspiration from a traditional Aboriginal Tjurunga artefact, sweeping shapes and rounded edges were adopted early in the design development phase, becoming a suitable design motif for many elements throughout the building.

CLT House by FMD Architects. Photo – Dianna Snape.

FMD Architects, CLT House

An existing home is reconfigured and extended by FMD Architects via an upper floor addition, featuring cross laminated timber (CLT) throughout. The rhythmic quality of the sawtooth roof to the new bridge structure is both lyrical and rational. The pitched roofs to the north integrate an extensive solar array with high level windows at its peak to capture the changing light throughout the day.

Left: Ruckers Hill House by Studio Bright. Photo – Rory Gardiner. Right: The Good Life House by MRTN Architects. Photo – Photo – Dave Kulesza.

Studio Bright, Ruckers Hill House

A prominent, corner-sited Edwardian in Northcote has been restored and enlarged by Studio Bright, with new living spaces in a separate rear-garden pavilion. The completed house is the perfect blend of playful and practical, with versatile interior spaces, and a greater connection to the garden.

Revisit our feature on this project here.

MRTN Architects, Good Life House

Recognising the number of nearby overscaled developments not in keeping with the dominant character and scale of the street, the clients of this Fairfield project engaged MRTN Architects to design a new home more suitable to its context. By cleverly concealing a second storey, and adopting a sympathetic materials palette, this home perfectly nestles into its suburban streetscape, while internally adopting the feel of a rambling farmhouse.

Revisit our feature on this project here.

Left: Highgate Park House by Vokes & Peters. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones. Right: Woollahra House by CO-AP Architects. Photo – Ross Honeysett.

Vokes and Peters, Highgate Park House

An extended original cottage in Brisbane designed to manage privacy, while engaging with its adjacent hilltop park. A thick brick ‘garden wall’ surrounds the perimeter of the property and its courtyard garden, while the house is planned around two principal circulation corridors: one open to the street, and another more private route servicing the bedrooms. Architecture by Vokes and Peters, with interior design by Georgia Cannon and landscape architecture by Dan Young Landscape Architect.

CO-AP Architects, Woollahra Courtyard House

A new four-bedroom home designed for an empty nester couple and three generations of extended family visitors. Located on the site of a former 1970s single-storey courtyard house, the new house by CO-AP Architects takes cues from its predecessor to feature its own central courtyard. The project also facilitates disability access, and responds to its current neighbouring context of two-storey dwellings.

Left: RaeRae House by Austin Maynard Architects. Photo – Peter Bennetts. Right: Fitzroy North House 02 by Rob Kennon Architects. Photo – Derek Swalwell

Austin Maynard Architects, RaeRae House

This new five-bedroom family home by Austin Maynard Architects incorporates the front of two pre-existing terrace homes in Fitzroy North. A glazed, setback entry unites the two structures and forms the gateway to the new build with an innovative mountain-like roof. While unconventional in appearance, this is a highly functional and practical house, with exciting moments of discovery throughout. 

Revisit our feature on this project here.

Rob Kennon Architects, Fitzroy North House 02

This Fitzroy North project by Rob Kennon Architects challenges the traditional rhythm of a house with a backyard. The home instead consists of two buildings  – one a contemporary interpretation of a workers’ cottage, followed by the main two-storey house – with a main central garden in between them, then a second garden at the very back. By rethinking a typical terrace house, this project creates a freedom and openness not often experienced on tight inner-city blocks.

Revisit our feature on this project here.

Left: Park Road House by Lineburg Wang. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones. Right: Balmain Rock by Benn & Penna. Photo – Tom Ferguson.

Lineburg Wang, Park Road House

An existing two-storey Queenslander is reconfigured to establish a greater aspect to its generous site. Early testing by Lineburg Wang found the removal, instead of addition, of rooms would best satisfy the client desire for enhanced indoor-outdoor living. The regulatory pool fence – typically an obstruction between house and pool that seeks to be hidden – was embraced and celebrated as a full-height metal screen enveloping the north and eastern elevations.

Benn + Penna Architecture, Balmain Rock

An extension and restoration project of an 1870s sandstone cottage in Balmain East. Benn + Penna conceived the new extension as an augmented duplicate of the existing cottage, featuring cement akin in weight and texture to sandstone. The complete home is a cohesive, protected space with interiors that feel as though carved from the one rock.

Revisit our feature on this project here

Left: CLT House by Emma Mitchell Architects. Right: Waratah Secondary House by Anthrosite Architects. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones.

Emma Mitchell Architects, CLT House

This Emma Mitchell Architects project in Anglesea explores the possibilities of cross laminated timber (CLT) construction, engaging with site specificity, environmental considerations, structural solutions and cost efficiency. An L-shaped plan provides ground level wheelchair access, garden connection, solar gain and wind-protected outdoor spaces.

Anthrosite Architects, Waratah Secondary House

A secondary, 60 square metre dwelling designed by Anthrosite Architects, located on a dual frontage site. Habitable rooms are elevated 1.2 metres above ground level to suit the requirements of a flood prone site. The use of standard blockwork, structural insulated panels, prefinished fibre cement panels. and modular components made this a time-efficient, low-maintenance build taking just three months.

The Design Files + Laminex Design Awards 2020 Residential Architecture award is presented by Brickworks.

Brickworks Building Products is one of Australia’s largest building products companies, with a stable of brands dedicated to manufacturing high-quality products for Australia and the world for over 100 years.

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email