2014 National Architecture Awards: Residential – Houses (New)

Hover House by Bower Architecture Residential Architecture – Houses (New): National Commendation Australian Institute of Architects

Jury citation

Located on a battleaxe block in the Victorian coastal town of Mount Martha, Hover House is conceived as a simple pitched-roof form organized around a central courtyard. Detached from its neighbours on all sides, the house is clad in a modest, dark timber cloak.

A permanent home for its two occupants, the house is entered via a screened gallery space along the north, where the roof line is set low to allow sun to penetrate the courtyard and living spaces. The interior is divided into living, guest and main bedroom wings joined by the cantilevered terrace that “hovers” to connect them. All rooms benefit from natural ventilation and views to the gardens around the site periphery, in particular the main bedroom and study, which look out to an eastern garden that is delightfully eclectic, in stark contrast to the minimalist garden at the site’s core.

Hover House is an intelligent case study for the suburban block, easily replicable and constructed with a modest budget. The simple roof form diagram is dynamic yet cost-effective, requiring little steel to erect. Materials are used selectively and where it counts: rich blackbutt timbers in the courtyard and interiors contrast with humble painted fibre cement sheet externally in places where it is less visible. This is a high-amenity, cost-effective house that has been skilfully designed for everyday life.

Read the project review by Marcus Baumgart from Houses.

Products and materials

Lysaght Custom Orb cladding in ‘Night Sky’.
External walls
James Hardie Scyon Axon in Wattyl Solaguard in ‘Black’; Woodform Architectural seasoned end-matched shiplapped timber.
Internal walls
Finewood Ventech Australia blackbutt veneer; Global Ventures Australia Smoked Tineo veneer; Boral Designer Block in ‘Pearl Grey’; plasterboard painted Wattyl Ultra Premium ‘Orchid’ and ‘Black’.
Darley Aluminium City View windows in black powdercoat finish.
Darley Aluminium Patio doors in black powdercoat finish; Brio Single Run 250 top-hung doors.
Mentone Pre Mix polished concrete slab, polished and sealed; Wicanders Corkcomfort Slate Eclipse cork tiles; Royale Saxony ‘Dove’ plush carpet from Allfloors Carpet Gallery.
Inlite Outline 50 Profile pendant; Jielde Lighting Signal light .
Barazza Lab 4 burner hob and Lab 60 oven; Qasair rangehood; Asko built-in dishwasher; Abey mixer and sink; DuPont Corian ‘Serene Sage’ benchtop; Nevamar HPL ‘Smokey White’ laminate.
Classic Ceramics Vogue ‘Ferro’ and ‘Ghiaccio’ tiles; Vitra Plus Toilet Suite from Rogerseller; Brodware basin mixer; BetteAqua wall-mounted basin from Argent Australia; Kado Lure freestanding bath; Mizu rail arm and shower head.
In-slab hydronic heating; Fujitsu split system airconditioner.
External elements
Eco Outdoor Etch Paver in ‘Bronter’ ‘Hawkesbury’ and ‘Basalt’.
Concept Click timber batten screening from Woodform Architectural.


Bower Architecture
Melbourne, Vic, Australia
Project Team
Chema Bould, Jade Vidal, Anna Dutton, Bob Sinclair, Rose Heeley, Ben Shields
Builder Ellcon Building Contractors
Engineer Beattie Consulting Engineers
Site Details
Location Mornington Peninsula,  Vic,  Australia
Site area 920 m2
Building area 260 m2
Category Residential
Type New houses
Project Details
Status Built
Design, documentation 6 months
Construction 12 months



Published online: 6 Nov 2014
Words: National Architecture Awards Jury 2014
Images: Shannon McGrath


Architecture Australia, November 2014

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