Bold monolithic home scoops architecture award


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A largely windowless, monolithic home constructed entirely of rammed concrete has scooped the best new residential prize in the Australian Institute of Architects’ 2019 WA Architecture Awards.

Cloister House makes an impact inside and out. Picture: Supplied

Designed by architectural firm MORQ, which operates between Perth and Italy, Cloister House has been awarded the Marshall Clifton Award for Residential Architecture (New).

Inspiration for the property, at 426a Cambridge Street, Floreat, was spawned from old Roman courtyards, with the design brief to create an urban, yet private sanctuary.

Centred around a glass walled courtyard in the middle of the house, the residence is largely devoid of windows, apart from one in a wardrobe which is used for ventilation.

The internal landscaped courtyard lets in natural light. Picture: Supplied

The judges cited that the architects had delivered an “unconventional response to increased suburban density” by creating a “distinctive home with a bold street presence and exceptional interior” on a busy arterial road.

“Confronting yet intriguing to the onlooker, this concrete mass captivates one’s attention from the onset,” the jury citation says.

“Beyond the blank façade and modest entry, a quiet, dark sanctuary awaits satisfying the owner’s brief for an internal escapist world.

“The design is rigorous uncompromising architecture that needs to be experienced to appreciate its sophisticated spatial and sensory quality.”

According to the judges, natural light from the internal landscaped courtyard juxtaposes against the dim internal spaces to create a dramatic, emotional and visual effect.

The jury was also impressed by the blending of raw, robust materials and the controlled light.

The minimalist, bold design uses raw, robust materials. Picture: Supplied

The new Perth Children’s Hospital was awarded the highest accolade – the George Temple Poole Award – for a design that successfully engages all users of the facility.

Australian Institute of Architects WA Chapter president, Peter Hobbs, says he is impressed by the cross-section of winners and cited the important role architecture plays in our everyday lives.

“This year’s winning projects demonstrate the importance of quality architecture when it comes to creating and sustaining successful, vibrant communities not just today, but well into the future,” Hobbs said.

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