Top houses of 2016

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Exploding Shed House by David Weir Architects.

Exploding Shed House by David Weir Architects. Image: Dion Robeson

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Maroubra House by Those Architects.

Maroubra House by Those Architects. Image: Luc Remond

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Beach and Forest House by Troppo Architects.

Beach and Forest House by Troppo Architects. Image: Michael Nicholson

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Humble House by Coy Yiontis Architects.

Humble House by Coy Yiontis Architects. Image: Tatjana Plitt

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Concrete House by Matt Gibson Architecture and Design.

Concrete House by Matt Gibson Architecture and Design. Image: Derek Swalwell

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Upsilon House by MCK Architects.

Upsilon House by MCK Architects. Image: Douglas Frost

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Rose Bay House by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer.

Rose Bay House by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer. Image: Brett Boardman

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Camp Hill Extension by Nielsen Workshop and Morgan Jenkins Architecture.

Camp Hill Extension by Nielsen Workshop and Morgan Jenkins Architecture. Image: Alicia Taylor

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Marrickville Courtyard House by David Boyle Architect.

Marrickville Courtyard House by David Boyle Architect. Image: Brett Boardman

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Villa Marittima by Robin Williams Architect.

Villa Marittima by Robin Williams Architect. Image: Dean Bradley

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From narrow suburban sites to spectacular coastal residences, and from a petite one-bedroom cottage to a bold minimalist showpiece, we look back at the ten most popular houses published on ArchitectureAU in 2016.

1. Exploding Shed House

The popularity of this compact one-bedroom cottage proved that small can be mighty. An experiment in urban infill (the house is perched in the back lot of a subdivided property in Perth), this project by David Weir Architect also taps into the growing demand for small-footprint living. Read more …

Maroubra House by Those Architects. Image:  Luc Remond

2. Maroubra House

Those Architects rethought function and layout in a small post-war home in the south-eastern suburbs of Sydney to achieve a longer, leaner series of living spaces grouped around a courtyard. The result is a more flexible house that also incorporates elements that would allow for future expansion, as the family changes over time. Read more …

Beach and Forest House by Troppo Architects. Image:  Michael Nicholson

3. Beach and Forest House

A small, cave-like beach shack in a spectacular coastal setting at Wategos Beach in far northern New South Wales has been liberated by Troppo Architects. The client’s creative brief for a space that was “always forest, always beach, always lighthouse” has been met with a house that speaks of joyous connections with family and friends, and a spiritual connection to site. Read more …

Humble House by Coy Yiontis Architects. Image:  Tatjana Plitt

4. Humble House

Coy Yiontis Architects has created a decidedly contemporary seaside house for a couple downsizing from a grand heritage farmhouse. A striking, steeply pitched skillion roof defines the house’s form and achieves generous ceiling volumes and light-filled living areas internally. Yet it is the architect’s consideration of the owners’ daily rituals, comfort and need for low-maintenance living that makes this house a comfortable and joyous place to live. Read more …

Concrete House by Matt Gibson Architecture and Design. Image:  Derek Swalwell

5. Concrete House

Described by its architect as “a kind of layered cake,” this house in bayside Melbourne by Matt Gibson Architecture and Design is the result of exceptional integration and interaction between its spaces. Externally, the house is clearly delineated as two separate levels. But internally, it “becomes a journey of contrasting feelings, the experiential flux of compression and release.” Read more …

Upsilon House by MCK Architects. Image:  Douglas Frost

6. Upsilon House

This new home replaces a dilapidated cottage on a narrow block in Sydney’s beachside suburb of Bronte. Faced with a difficult, sloping site and tight council restrictions, MCK Architects conceived a straightforward yet highly effective solution. A large, U-shaped concrete channel has been buried into the slope, producing a slender house designed for “simple, rugged, no-fuss living.” Read more …

Rose Bay House by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer. Image:  Brett Boardman

7. Rose Bay House

Tonkin Zulaikha Greer has reimagined a double-fronted Federation bungalow in Sydney’s east to create a poetic house that has many layers – of light and dark, exposure and protection, materials and detail. Paying homage to a spectacular tree in the rear garden, the house is defined by a series of narrow poles in a “whimsical and captivating” gesture that recreates the sense of walking through a forest. Read more …

Camp Hill Extension by Nielsen Workshop and Morgan Jenkins Architecture. Image:  Alicia Taylor

8. Camp Hill Extension

In this extension to a Queenslander house in Brisbane’s Camp Hill, Nielsen Workshop and Morgan Jenkins Architecture turn the Queenslander logic on its head. Rather than building into the undercroft space, as is typically done, the extension slips past the original house like an “escaped undercroft,” preserving the existing language of the street. Read more …

Marrickville Courtyard House by David Boyle Architect. Image:  Brett Boardman

9. Marrickville Courtyard House

Located on one of three blocks created in the subdivision of a large corner site, this new house by David Boyle Architect “feels huge but sits on a relatively small site.” Though passers-by may not immediately notice the house from the street, says reviewer Genevieve Lilley, from the front porch “everything about this visually modest and spiritually generous house is extraordinary, and everything makes sense.” Read more …

Villa Marittima by Robin Williams Architect. Image:  Dean Bradley

10. Villa Marittima

This visually striking, minimalist beachside dwelling is an intriguing building that was a labour of love for owner and architect Robin Williams of Robin Williams Architect. Experienced like a piece of immersive installation art, the building is, in Williams’s words, “a bare form, a simple idea, a villa.” An inclining concrete floor at the entrance recalls Williams’s childhood memories of running up a sand dune to catch the first glimpse of the ocean. Read more …


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