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AAA Open House Residential Bus Tour


AAA Open House Residential Bus Tour
The Australian Architecture Association is organising it's next AAA Open House bus tour for 2013 on Saturday 18 May. This tour will explore residential projects across the inner east and inner west of Sydney.

While experiencing some of Sydney's latest contemporary home design, you'll have the opportunity to meet the architects and some of their clients. Learn how the designs evolved and be inspired!

This is an all day bus tour which includes lunch, commentary and coach travel.
Tickets: $195 (Public) / $175 (AAA Members)

Click here to secure your place.
  • Photographer: Vanessa Couzens

New Books at Published Art

Published Art has some great books on offer this month. Revel in the architecture of home grown talent from Victoria, with the publications El Croquis 165: Sean Godsell 1997-2013 and Six Degrees 1992-2002.


El Croquis 165: Sean Godsell 1997-2013 features fourteen projects by the Melbourne based award winning architect. An insight into Godsell's ideology is provided in contributions by Leon Van Schaik, 'A Conversation with Sean Godsell' and Juhani Pallasmaa, 'Sean Godsell's Tough Subtlety'. Normally retailing at$99.00, AAA 'All About Architecture' subscribers get a 10% discount ($89.10).


Compiled by Brad Haycock, Six Degrees 1992-2002 is 224-page volume that extensively documents the built works of Melbourne based firm Six Degrees. Including drawings, early photographs and practice documents, along with written contributions by Philip Goad, Rachel Hurst, Barrie Barton, Toby Horrocks and Tim O'Sullivan, the publication captures the impact of Six Degrees upon the architectural profession and upon the cultural fabric and built environment of Melbourne. A conversation between Stuart Harrison and the directors of Six Degrees offers a unique insight into the evolution and the workings of the practice. Normally retailing at $40.00, with the 10% discount it's a bargain at $36.00.


If your tastes run to architecture offshore, don't miss out on the monograph Kengo Kuma: Complete Works by architectural historian Kenneth Frampton. Kuma is a Japanese architect who has forged a modern design language that artfully combines the country's traditional building crafts with sophisticated technologies and materials. Kenneth Frampton frames Kuma's work in the context of post-war Japan's flourishing architecture scene. From his iconic Water/Glass (1995) to the Nezu Museum in Tokyo (2009), each building is presented through descriptive text, newly commissioned photographs, and detailed drawings that reveal the refined architectonic vocabulary that characterises Kuma's buildings. Created in collaboration with Kuma, the projects are organized by materials: Water and Glass; Wood; Grass and Bamboo; and Stone, Earth, and Ceramics. Normally retailing at $80.00, it's only $72.00 with your AAA discount.

Visit and browse Published Art's in store range at: Shop 2, 23-33 Mary Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010. Or you can check out their website.

To redeem your discount on the stores extensive range of art, design, photography and architecture publications, when buying in-store, don't forget to tell them you are an Australian Architecture Association subscriber.

If you plan to buy online, you will also need to email Published Art:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and outline the details of your purchase so that the 10% discount can be redeemed during the billing process. Again tell the helpful staff that you are an Australian Architecture Association subscriber.

  • Article: by Vanessa Couzens and Published Art
  • Images: provided by Published Art

AAA Central Coast Residential Bus Tour

On Saturday 23 February the Australian Architecture Association (AAA) ran the first Residential Bus Tour of 2013. Clutching wet weather gear, participants of the booked out tour departed Customs House for a day sightseeing some of the architectural delights of the Central Coast.


The first house of the day was designed by the small practice of David Boyle Architect, who are based in Pretty Beach. The Kings Residence, located in Phegans Bay was completed in 2012.

The clients, a couple with one young child, bought the site with pre-existing structure left from a house that was lost in the 2006 New Years Day fires. The challenging steeply sloped site, dominated by large rocky outcrops of sandstone, enjoys 270 degree views of the twisting headlands surrounding Brisbane Water.


The house was designed to incorporate the concrete blockwork of the former garage and retaining walls of the existing pebblecrete pool. The new residence steps up the site as a pavilion flowing between a series of platforms.

Inside the residence these changes in level create intimate cosy spaces. The main entertaining space and the master bedroom, capitalise on the views and northerly daylight. To the rear of the house the second bedroom and adjoining play space view onto a rear deck. A large internal cavity sliding door between the play space and kitchen / dining space gives the flexibility to create privacy for their child or create one larger open area.

The clients were enthusiastic about their new home and spoke of the pleasurable experience of being heavily involved in the design and construction process. Touches of their creativity can be seen in the incorporation of elements, such as recycled railway sleepers that form steps between changes of level.


The residence's use of modest materials such as concrete block, unadorned cement panel cladding with hardwood battens, recycled timber flooring and hardwood fire resistant decking, testifies to a conscious desire to reduce building costs and accommodate the issue of bush fires, while giving the house a light weight presence that sympathetically hovers above the landscape.

House number two built in MacMasters Beach, was designed by the small architecture practice, Dianna Thomas Architect, who are also based in MacMasters Beach. This holiday residence was designed for a professional couple with teenaged children, looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of Sydney.


Built of robust materials to withstand the punishing conditions of it's coastal location, the residence is split over two storeys with guest and childrens' rooms at ground level and the master bedroom, open plan kitchen/ dining/living space on the upper level.

In much of Dianna Thomas's work you can see the influence of Mid-Twentieth Century American modernism. In particular, the Case Study Houses sponsored by the publication Arts & Architecture, between the 1940's and 1960's. The MacMasters Beach House reflects their ideology in the use of prefabricated materials and simple functional arrangement of spaces to capitalise on the features of the site.


The interiors are given a sense of warmth through the inclusion of custom inbuilt timber cabinetry, that recalls the style of Mid-Twentieth Century Danish furniture design. This theme is continued in the clients selections of furnishings and lighting.

Large sliding doors across the northern face of the upper level open out onto a generous deck that wraps around the eastern face of the building to take in outstanding views across MacMasters Beach and it's environment.


Windows on the southern face of the building allow cross ventilating breezes to cool the residence and are protected by retracting fire shutters for bush fire protection.

The third house of the day was designed by the Neutral Bay, small practice Utz Sanby. Built in MacMasters Beach and completed in 2009, this residence was also designed as a holiday getaway for clients who wanted a large timber residence with plenty of space for entertaining guests.


Built on a long parcel of land on the top of the northern headland, the two storey house is pushed away from the road toward the end of the block facing directly onto the ocean. A separate street front garage provides privacy for a lap pool that adjoins a raised timber walkway leading to the houses entrance.

The double storey house is split visually into two pavilions, that separate the private areas, such as guest bedrooms and informal home office, from the more public functions of the house such as a Rumpus Room, at ground level and open plan kitchen / dining / living room above. The two functions of the house are joined together by a centralised circulation space.


The entry for the house opens onto a double height void, followed at ground level by an open tread timber stair and generous corridor with views through to the ocean. The delineation between public and private space is maintained through the clever use of timber cladding that is extended from the exterior face to wrap internally between the two pavilions.


With close adjoining neighbours on the north and south, the creation of privacy for the interiors was an important aspect of Utz Sanby's design. Rooms openings are orientated predominately to the east and west. On the eastern face large glazed timber sliding doors open onto decks that link the interiors to the exterior and ocean views. On the second level of the 'public' pavilion, the western facade of the house has a large roof overhang that protects an entertaining deck viewing onto the pool area to the west.

Internally, the exposed timber of the roof framing and polished timber floor boards add a sense of warmth to the open plan kitchen/dining/living space. The use of painted timber cladding on both the exteriors and interiors harkens back to the more traditional weatherboard cottages that still populate the central coast.

After viewing three homes, it was lunch time. Tour participants, along with some of the architects, adjourned to the Reef Restaurant at The Haven, in Terrigal. Over conversations about architecture and life in general, we enjoyed a somewhat rain obscured view of the turbulent ocean waters.

A break in the driving rain saw us arrive at our next destination, a luxurious residence in Terrigal by Jorge Hrdina Architects. Based in Cammeray, Jorge Hrdina cut his teeth in the industry working for one of Australia's celebrated Twentieth Century architects, Neville Gruzman. The influence of the organic architecture movement and the Sydney Regionalist style can be seen in Hrdina's work through his use of natural materials like stone and timber, exposed concrete and the way his houses are designed to react to the immediate landscape and climatic conditions.


Completed in 2008, the house was designed with two key priorities. Firstly to capitalise on outstanding views of the ocean and surrounding coastal landscape. Secondly to overcome the presence of adjoining homes to the property and provide open spaces with a sense of privacy.

The house is built over two levels on the sloping site. At the front facing onto the street, is the ground level double garage with stairs up to an exterior decked walkway to the house entry, offset midway down the southern length of the house. Directly above the garage sits the master bedrooms office/sitting space, followed by a generous walk in robe space which also accesses onto the master bedroom and its adjoining ensuite.


At the entrance to the house, the angle of the residence pivots to take advantage of easterly views, so that the house no longer runs parallel to the boundary. This aids in the creation of a protected open deck between the master bedroom/ensuite and the adjoining open plan kitchen/dining/living space.

Stacking sliding doors and windows open the kitchen and dining space onto the central courtyard and decking. Extensive frameless glazing encloses the sitting space and creates what Jorge Hrdina calls 'views within views'. A large skillion roof soars over this space and angles down to the north giving protection from the weather and covering a timber deck that leads onto a 19m cantilevered lap pool strung along the northern edge of the second storey.

A generously proportioned stairway with polished concrete floors leads down from the entrance space to lower level which contains guest rooms with equally impressive views to the ocean. The practical functions of the house like laundry, guest bathroom and access to the garage and rainwater tanks, are also located on this level. Tucked away to the side of the main guest room with sitting space, is a small enclosed deck with a large pivoting door that opens out to views of the ocean while screening the space from the neighbours.


The residence was recently sold to a Sydney based family, who are currently working with Jorge Hrdina on a permanent residence in Sydney. They use the residence as a coastal escape. It is also managed by Raine & Horne Terrigal - Avoca Beach (Phone: 02 4385 1000) as executive holiday rental. The 'Glass House' can be booked through

As with all good things the day had to end some time. Our final house on the tour was a renovation of a holiday home in Wagstaff. Designed by the multi award winning architect Michael Dysart, this study in modesty and simplicity won the 2009 Australian Institute of Architects Small Projects category.


Michael Dysart is an important figure in the Australian architectural scene. He is usually classified as a part of the Sydney School or Sydney Regionalist movement, who worked from the 1950’s onwards and had a huge impact in particular on residential design. This year on Australia Day, Michael Dysart was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to architecture.

The house we visited is in fact Michael's family holiday home. Originally built in the 1950's, the very modest fibre cement clad home contained a main entry through the kitchen, leading into a living/dining space and two bedrooms that opened directly off the living room. The bathroom/laundry and toilet originally opened onto the side of the kitchen.

Despite loving the house, at sixty-five square metres the decision was reluctantly made to extend the residence in order to better accommodate Dysart's family. The new extension was deliberately designed to minimise the impact on the original features of the home. To preserve the memory of the original residence, Michael repeated the details of the houses style and materials in the new additions.


On the west a new main entrance and living room was added, that opens at the rear onto a deck that wraps across the northerly face of the building and views across the water. The original delightful 50's formica kitchen has been retained, along with the original living/dining that now acts as a small dining and sitting area. The existing two bedrooms were enlarged on the eastern edge of the house to accommodate a corridor to a new main bedroom and small ensuite, facing onto the original landscaping of the properties street front.

Painted cement cladding lines the exteriors of the new additions and the curved form enclosing the ensuite harkens back to the Modernist style homes of the Twentieth Century. A trellised verandah at the front of the house encompasses the trunk of an established gum tree and allows the kitchen to view up to it's canopy. In fact it was the desire to retain the gum tree that necessitated a hasty redesign of the new living room fireplace when it was discovered by the builder that the tree would need to be cut down if the fire place remained in it's intended position.


The Wagstaff house is a lovely testament to the fact that big doesn't necessarily mean better. It respects the historical heritage of seaside cottages while providing cosy, relaxed interiors with sufficient amenity to suit the needs of an extended family.

The Australian Architecture Association would like to thank tour participants for taking part in our tour, we hope you enjoyed the day. We would also like to thank the architects, for taking the time to explain their designs and in particular their clients who so graciously opened their doors to us.

  • Article: Vanessa Couzens
  • Photographs:
    House 1
    Tour Photographs: Vincent Lam and Vanessa Couzens
    House 2
    Tour Photographs: Vincent Lam and Vanessa Couzens
    House 3
    Tour Photographs: Vincent Lam and Vanessa Couzens
    House 4
    'Glass House' professional photographs: provided by client
    Tour Photographs: Vincent Lam and Vanessa Couzens
    House 5
    Tour Photographs: Vincent Lam and Vanessa Couzens

MCA Anish Kapoor Exhibition Giveaway Winners

Last month the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) offered to Australian Architecture Association members the opportunity to win one of two double passes to the first major exhibition in Australia of Mumbai-born, London-based artist Anish Kapoor.

Congratulations to Yarek Alexander and Louise Byrne who were the lucky winners of the tickets. We hope you enjoy visiting the exhibition, which will run through until 1 April.

Having experienced some of his individual works, overseas and in Australia, I've been a long standing admirer of Anish Kapoor's contemporary sculpture.  When I first heard the MCA planned a comprehensive exhibition of his work, I was naturally excited and rushed to obtain my membership, so I could take full advantage of seeing the exhibition multiple times!


The exhibition guide likens his work to that of alchemy. This description seems quite apt. Rather then transforming one material into another, through a mixture of science, engineering and magic, Kapoor's work transforms our perception of space, form, mass and material. His use of colour recalls the rich visceral culture of India.

Anish Kapoor is obviously a perfectionist, with a scientific bent of mind. However, behind the detailed engineering of each piece, one can't help thinking that there lurks an artist who still retains a childlike fascination with shape and play.

This a great exhibition to take the kids (and adult 'kids at heart'!) to. Some highlights for me, include his untitled 2012 'voids', spherical wall mounted sculptures that have coloured reflective surfaces that turn your vision of the world upside down. It is fun to imagine that gravity has become inverted, swinging your arms above your head, as you appear to hang from the ceiling.

The highly reflective mirrored surface of his nine metre long work 'S-Curve' (2006), recalls visions of childhood visits to the local shows fun parlour or hall of mirrors. Try viewing the piece from a diagonal viewpoint on the entry side of the piece. Looking at the point where the two curves meet, curve your body with your arms above your head, as if you were diving into a pool. You will suddenly find yourself transformed into two acrobats from the circus, holding ankles, ready to roll around the ring.


The giant bulbous 24 ton Cor-Ten steel form of 'Memory' (2008), should appeal to those who are architecturally inclined. It seems to float, like a balloon within the deliberately close space, elegantly balanced between the enclosing walls. After viewing the piece, revisit the specially constructed room that houses a void opened into its side. Speak into its gloomy, spooky depths and hear a ghostly echo return to you.


My favourite in the collection is another untitled work from 2012, which hangs on the wall facing the Level 3 entry. The dishes visually pleasing fractured mirror pattern, holds a secret! Position a friend at the opposite side of the room, next to the corner, while you stand at the line in front of the sculpture. Staring at the centre of the dish, whisper a secret message, using a breathy voice. Your friend will hear what you say!

If you love contemporary abstract sculpture that challenges your perception, then this is definitely one exhibition you will not want to miss. Make sure you talk to the exhibition staff to get an insight into the ideology behind the creation of the artworks and equally fascinating, their installation.

If you want to avoid weekend crowds, take advantage of the MCA's late opening on Thursday nights. Afterwards enjoy a glass of wine and some nibbles at the upstairs cafe and be entertained by their program of musicians in the sculpture court.

Many thanks to the MCA for offering the double passes to AAA members and for undertaking the momentous task of compiling and bringing these works to our shores.

  • Article: Vanessa Couzens
  • Photographs:
    Provided by the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
    - Anish Kapoor 1000 Names, 1979-80 wood, gesso, pigment. Image courtesy and © the artist
    - Anish Kapoor Memory, 2008 installation view, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin 2009 Cor-ten steel. Image courtesy the artist and Deutsche Guggenheim © the artist. Photograph: Mathias Schormann
  • MCA exhibition photograph by Frank Farrugia, Anish Kapoor Untitled, 2012.