obin Boyd was a renowned Victorian architect and visionary of the 50s and 60s – an advocate for good design who championed innovation and honesty in architecture. Since 1981, the Robin Boyd Award has been Australia’s highest accolade for residential architecture, perpetually raising the bar of good housing design.
The award-winning houses opening their doors as part of the Open House event this Sunday share a common bond. They are not only the result of brave experimentation with form and material use, but share an effortless modesty and simplicity in material palette and scale that inspires such refined beauty. “Small houses that are well designed can be as useful and as delightful as a large house,” notes Tony Lee, head of the Robin Boyd Foundation.
With all open houses located in the coastal setting of the Mornington Peninsula, the event poses the perfect weekend excursion for the budding design aficionado or the just plain design curious. With an architectural cast that spans 30 years of award-winning design, each house brings its own story of creation to the fold.
Nonda Katsalidis’ St Andrews House references the Australian vernacular fused with modernity, whereas Denton Corker Marshall’s Emery Residence is a dynamic form in a windswept setting. McBride Charles Ryan’s Klein Bottle House uses geometry to generate form on difficult topography and Paul Morgan’s Cape Schanck House uses wind movement and light stimulus in the sculpting of its building envelope, with an internal structural water tank as centrepiece.
Representing the most recent additions to this illustrious list, Zac’s House and the Blue House, both the work of Neeson Murcutt, display a true embodiment of the current architectural zeitgeist. These cleverly designed houses make use of robust and raw materials in an economical yet beautiful culmination of space.
These sustainable urban housing models encapsulate a new thinking about architectural design. They convey a fluidity between the building and its natural surrounds, a simplicity of form with a focus on material honesty and the harnessing of natural light.
The Robin Boyd Foundation Open House is this Sunday July 1.
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