Congratulations to our friend James Russell, who just got a commendation in the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Robin Boyd Award for Residential Buildings. We visited his Brisbane 'Brookes Street House' in April - here are a couple of my snaps at the time. (it was scene of The Gecko Incident.) It's a really beautiful family home. Built for the Brisbane climate, with a grass court, open to the sky, dividing the two wonderfully open living spaces. These two 'pavilions' are subtly connected spaces, snugly pinned against a listed church building and lifted off the ground atop what to these eyes looked like a contemporary take on the classic Queenslander 'Under the house'. Lovely materials throughout. The place had a wonderful feeling; secure and quiet, yet bang in the middle of Brisbane's hip Fortitude Valley.
Great to see it recognised in this prestigious award, and huge congrats to J. & T.
The overall winner of the RAIA Award for Residential Buildings is the completely stunning St Andrews Beach House in Mornington Peninsula, Victoria by Sean Godsell Architects. While it looks like more of a showcase second home than Russell's everyday family home, there's a fascinating concept here. As with Russell's, it explores the potential fluidity between inside and outside that the Australian climate affords its architecture. In Godsell's words:
"The plan has two discrete elements – a communal kitchen/meals/living space and a bedroom block. Each element is connected via a promenade deck. To move from element to element and from room to room one has to go outside and then inside thereby being exposed to the heat of summer and the extremes of winter. This strategy was requested by the client as a way of using the weekend house to re-humanise oneself after a week of office work. It serves to de-sanitise the controlled 22degree C built environment to which we have all grown accustomed and to remind the occupants of their own frailty. This building forms part of our on-going research into the evolution of an Australian architecture in the Asian region. Fragments of the outback homestead – the sunroom, the breezeway, the sleep-out are re-organised into an abstract verandah which shelters and protects the occupants while enhancing the fluidity of the spaces and their loosely defined nature. ‘Inside’ and ‘outside’ are deliberately ambiguous. The external environment is filtered through a series of layers so that harsh extremes are tempered and the occupants are held and nurtured by the building."