2013 National Architecture Awards: Robin Boyd Award

Fairhaven Residence by John Wardle Architects Residential Architecture – Houses: Robin Boyd Award Australian Institute of Architects

Jury citation

This house inhabits its coastal bush site with energy. It is active, responsive, charged architecture, almost bird-like, craning its neck to see over the edge, twisting its head to see the best views, scraping a nest among the trees. Nonetheless it nestles down into the hillside and is unimposing on the street, partly thanks to its green-grey zinc cladding, which is tough, soft and well suited to the canopy of eucalypts. Somehow this house is radically different while doing just what you’d expect, or want, to do here on this ridge above the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, looking out to Bass Strait.

The house’s somewhat spiky and watchful exterior is not alienating, but intriguing. An earthy and descending path leads to a recessed front door, whose alcove hints at the warm, enveloping and remarkable interior. This interior is both complex and pure. All surfaces are lined with a singular material – timber – in an uncompromising commitment to spatial flow and development, an unfolding sequence that wraps around an external courtyard and peels off to capture and focus on views of the scrub and sea.

Highly resolved in all ways including fine detail, the house does not come across as overwrought or unsuitably citified. Instead it evokes the kind of amazing refinement wrought by evolution, an elegance that seems shaped by a natural, logical and sensitive response to the opportunities and constraints of a specific context, and shaped in a highly calibrated way to the forces around it.

This project reveals a masterful control of form and space, scale, material and detail. It is responsive to site and client, is beautifully functional, balances privacy and communality, and is richly sculptural as a series of spaces for occupation, rest and life. The achievement of such richness through a deceptively simple, balanced and cohesive whole, which is experimental without gratuitousness, is exceptional. It feels right and complete and particular – an authentic, resonant delight.

Credits

Architect
John Wardle Architects
Melbourne, Vic, Australia
Project Team
Chloe Lanser, John Wardle, Andrew Wong, Diego Bekinschtein, James Juricevich, Robert Kolak
Consultants
Builder Spence Construction
Building surveyor McKenzie Group
Furniture joiners McKay Joinery
Landscape consultant Elizabeth Peck Landscape Architect
Lighting consultant Light Project
Structural consultant Felicetti
Town planning Hansen Partnership
Site Details
Project Details
Status Built
Category Residential
Type New houses

Source

Award

Published online: 7 Nov 2013
Words: National Architecture Awards Jury 2013
Images: Trevor Mein

Issue

Architecture Australia, November 2013

Related topics

More award

See all
Phoenix Central Park by Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects. Durbach Block Jaggers, John Wardle Architects win highest honour at 2020 NSW Architecture Awards

The Australian Institute of Architects announced the NSW awards via a live broadcast on 3 July.

Salisbury Community Hub by Hassell. 2020 South Australian Architecture Awards

The Australian Institute of Architects announced the winners of the 2020 South Australian Architecture Awards on 2 July.

Pingelly Recreation and Cultural Centre by Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects with Advanced Timber Concepts Studio. 2020 WA Architecture Awards

A sustainable timber building that draws of regional community spirit and a history of Indigenous AFL players has taken out the top honour at the …

STEAM Building Darwin High School by Hully Liveris Design Company and Jackman Gooden Architects. 2020 Northern Territory Architecture Awards

The Australian Institute of Architects has announced the winners of the 2020 Northern Territory Architecture Awards.

Most read

Latest on site

Calendar