2015 National Architecture Awards: Eleanor Cullis-Hill Award for Houses (Alterations and Additions)

Tower House by Andrew Maynard Architects Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions): Eleanor Cullis-Hill Award Australian Institute of Architects

Jury citation

Inserted deftly into a suburban streetscape, the playful additions and alterations of the Tower House are a surprisingly comfortable and delightful fit. From the street, the project’s defining tall-shingled “tower” can be seen alongside the renovated weatherboard cottage. As the site opens up towards the rear laneway, a distinctive character is revealed through a series of added pavilions, each possessing an apparently childlike silhouette of a house. Each of the profiles of the little pavilion “houses” is skilfully manipulated to turn a low-scale and well-finished face to the southern neighbour whose boundary the new buildings hug. This generous approach to the neighbourhood extends to the rear laneway, where a sunny, north-facing garden invites neighbours to engage.

The playful external pavilion forms reveal themselves internally through elegantly detailed skylights and a charming menagerie of domestic-scaled volumes. Diverse living zones have been provided with no hint of the disjuncture that might have been anticipated, all made right by the harmonious choice of materials and the skilful resolution of junctions between forms and finishes. There’s a timber-lined and book-lined study with its floor below ground level. Here one can look out at the level of flowers. Another highlight is the netted floor of the tall tower, where parents and children can escape and enter another world, suspended and cushioned with a framed view of the rear garden. It’s an absolute delight. This project demonstrates how the talents of the architect can deliver on a client’s ambition to be a positive influence in their community.

Read the project review by Mark Scruby from Houses 104.

Products and materials

Lysaght Longline 305 in Colorbond ‘Surfmist’.
External walls
Western red cedar shingles.
Internal walls
Spotted gum timber lining; plasterboard in Dulux ‘Lexicon White’.
Windows and doors
Skyrange Engineering steel frame windows and doors; Viridian double glazing.
Concrete slab, polished; spotted gum tongue-and-groove flooring in tung oil.
HPM Linea Soft Touch and Clipsal C2000 Series switch plates.
Hoop pine plywood joinery; steel benchtop painted black with wax finish; Abey Schock 1 3/4 bowl sink; Franke Planar mixer and Spazio plumbing kit; Qasair rangehood.
Caroma overmount basin; Rogerseller shower mixer, towel rails, robe hooks, basin spout and toilet roll holder; Veitch stainless steel shower floor waste.
Heating and cooling
In-floor hydronic coils; Greenheat hydronic panels; Shadefactor folding arm awnings.
Oxley Nets net floor to study floor.


Austin Maynard Architects
Melbourne, Vic, Australia
Project Team
Andrew Maynard, Mark Austin
Builder Overend Constructions
Engineer Maurice Farrugia and Associates
Garden design Bush Projects, Austin Maynard Architects
Landscape Lucida Landscapes
Stained glass Bayside Lead Light
Site Details
Location Melbourne,  Vic,  Australia
Site type Suburban
Site area 550 m2
Building area 225 m2
Project Details
Status Built
Completion date 2014
Design, documentation 4 months
Construction 18 months
Category Residential
Type Alts and adds, New houses



Published online: 5 Nov 2015
Words: National Architecture Awards Jury 2015
Images: Peter Bennetts


Architecture Australia, November 2015

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