2016 National Architecture Awards: Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions) Award

Mills, The Toy Management House by Austin Maynard Architects Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions): National Award Australian Institute of Architects

Jury citation

Each city generates particular kinds of projects and architectural problems. In Melbourne, Victorian terrace houses raise questions of scale, privacy and access to natural light. Melbourne’s weather brings another challenge to the design.

In a daring departure from the default response to Melbourne’s cold climate, Austin Maynard Architects has responded to this terrace project by opening up the interior of the house to a modest outdoor volume subtracted from the centre of the plan. In this way, the architects ask why shouldn’t we engage more openly with the nuances of each setting, including, in this instance, its colder temperatures?

Mills, The Toy Management House is a sophisticated work despite its project title suggesting a singular idea. A complex interior floor terrain provides more than a storage solution for children’s toys. At ground level the floor folds up and down throughout the length of the house to generate a series of incidental surfaces for storage or perching. In other places the floor terrain delineates more formal “rooms” and furniture arrangements within the open-planned volume.

This bold and whimsical project makes exemplary suggestions as to how one might (re)-occupy this small historic building type to accommodate the expansive program of contemporary family life.


Austin Maynard Architects
Melbourne, Vic, Australia
Project Team
Andrew Maynard, Mark Austin (principal architects); Natalie Miles (project architect)
Builder Grand Plan Properties
Building surveyor Code Compliance
Engineer Hive Engineering
Lighting consultant Lights and Tracks
Quantity surveyor Plan Cost
Town planning Song Bowden
Site Details
Location Melbourne,  Vic,  Australia
Site type Suburban
Project Details
Status Built
Completion date 2015
Category Residential
Type Alts and adds, New houses



Published online: 3 Nov 2016
Words: National Architecture Awards Jury 2016
Images: Peter Bennetts


Architecture Australia, November 2016

Related topics

More award

See all
Australian House of the Year: Cantala Avenue House by ME. Modest architecture with significant impacts: 2020 Houses Awards winners

A modest house in an “unremarkable but incredibly familiar” Gold Coast suburb has clinched the top prize in the 2020 Houses Awards.

Courtyard House for Fabprefab (NSW) by Chrofi with Fabprefab, New House Under 200 m². 2020 Houses Awards: Commendations

Twenty-two projects and two emerging practices have received commendations in the 2020 Houses Awards.

Cantala Avenue House by ME. 2020 Houses Awards: Australian House of the Year

The winning project celebrates a simple life and the capacity of modest architecture to impact significantly on the way we live.

Waratah Secondary House by Anthrosite. 2020 Houses Awards: Sustainability

The jury lauded this small, humble project, adding that it “delivers something that we need to see more of in our cities.”

Most read

Latest on site