Make sure your follow Dddreamhouse on social so you can stay up to date all the time. If you're not on social, then click on the banner at the top of the page to subscribe to our newsletter.

Some of our favourite designs from the 2017 Victorian Architecture Awards

Some of our favourite designs from the 2017 Victorian Architecture Awards

Each year the Australian Institute of Architects' Victorian Chapter runs the Victorian Architecture Awards.  This year they've focussed on an element of design that's very close to our hearts here at Dddreamhouse - people. The awards are focussing on the important of design, place, culture and community showcasing architects delivering "Places for People". The criteria is based around liveability, making a positive contribution to the built environment and designing for the long term. 

We loved some of the beautiful designs in this years' awards and wanted to share them with you - we think they can provide some exceptional inspiration for your next reno! So think about this when it comes to your next project... Are you making your home more liveable? Are you making a positive contribution to the built environment by making a different, sustainable and beautiful change? Are you designing for the long term? And does your next renovation or remodel bring the people in your home together? 

There were 223 entries for the awards and 14 juries carried out sit visits to create a shortlist of 102 properties across 14 categories. Across all shortlisted projects, the emphasis on client and community focussed architecture is evident, proving that good architecture and design has the power to transform and revive communities. 

The winners will be announced on Friday 30 June at 7pm at a presentation event held at the Melbourne Convention Centre. Winners in each category will progress to compete for 2017 National Architecture Awards announced in Canberra in November. Tickets for the Presentation Dinner are now on sale through the Chapter. 

So take a look at a couple of our favourite entries below and tell us, which are your favourites? What do you love most? 


Designed by Ben Stibbard and Kate Fitzpatrick
Photographed by Derek Swalwell

A new 4 bedroom house built into a heavily treed hill that drops down to a creek at the base. The house is divided into two wings, pinching together to form the entry then folding away from one another, enclosing wedges of outdoor space in between and creating a separation of the site into manicured front portion and untamed rear. From the street, the house is hunkered into the hill, with the pedestrian access stepping down into a private entry forecourt bounded by the kitchen and dining area. Through the front door, the view is straight into the treetops, with the arching living zone opening onto both the front courtyard and rear deck to maximise integration with the site. The design screens out adjoining neighbours, giving northern aspect to living spaces and focusing views into the treetops. The main living and master bedroom wing cantilevers out into the established tree canopy, creating the feel of a treehouse, with leafy outlook and filtered afternoon light.


Designed by Michael Roper by Architecture Architecture
Photographed by Peter Bennetts

In a row of workers’ cottages, there is one Dark Horse – a handsome creature. The stepped parapet, centred window, sidelined door and entrance awning are carried with the familiar, unassuming composure of its neighbours. Yet here the materials, stark in their composition, have a distinctly 21st century character, hinting at the contemporary home within. 

Indeed, the palette of black, white and grey is carried throughout the house, lending tonal variation and spatial depth to an otherwise diminutive site. The play of tones establishes a subtle field of spaces that expand and contract, creating moments of generosity and intimacy. In the living areas, where space and light are abundant, the material palette is darker, creating spaces of comfortable repose. Here, sensitive use of acoustic treatment reinforces these qualities. 

In the corridors where space is tighter, the palette lightens and the ceilings lift. The corridor walls - slim and prefabricated to maximise internal space – are lined with metal sheet to reflect light deep into the house. In the heart of the house, the living areas open onto a courtyard. The high-ceilinged corridors pinwheel out from this heart, establishing a sunlit centre around which most daily activity occurs.

Upstairs, a warmer palette of timber floors and lining boards sets the tone for the private quarters, while dramatic skylights and generous windows cast this Dark Horse in abundant natural light.


Designed by Bower Architecture  
Photographed by Shannon McGrath


In a quiet street, this sensitive but tough new beach house creates an intriguing sanctuary, integrated with context and landscape. Driven by the local vernacular of gently gabled houses, a sensitive building form is nestled between its neighbours. Two entry experiences - the most apparent an informal outdoor shower which celebrates the ritual of the beach return, while a more discreet side entry leads into a central courtyard at the heart of the house. Defined living spaces avoid vast open planning and bridge between separate distinct bedroom areas. These living spaces are unveiled and re-experienced through glimpses and framed views from differing perspectives. Outlook within and beyond shifts through these spaces, which change in character over day and season. Investment in the structure and shell of the house, its considered bones and materials results in a calm and surprising journey integrated with users, site and its surrounds.


Designed by Antony Martin
Photographed by Nic Granleese




Our clients came to us with a desire to create a renewed connection with the Daylesford property they have owned for over twenty years. They didn't have a grand vision but rather a sympathetic and caretaking approach to the land and a wish to create a permanent home. We were given the option to demolish the existing structure and design an entirely new house. We established the optimal siting for a home was in the existing location so proposed instead to retain the original Victorian cottage, and only demolish a series of increasingly shoddy lean too additions and reinstate the original front verandah to retain a connection with the history of the site.

Located beside Daylesford Lake, in the foothills of the dividing range; the higher elevation means for a cooler and wetter weather than that found in Melbourne. Shadow Cottage responds to the landscape and climate context in which it is sited. Living areas are orientated to north and to the west as the house drops away to capture views of the towering eucalypts in the nature reserve. To the east is the original Victorian workers cottage upgraded to meet the bushfire standards. The addition doesn't touch the ground lightly but rather hugs close to the ground and focuses attention to the backdrop of trees appearing as a contemporary mountain cabin when viewed through the bush below, in contrast to the prim Victorian viewed from the street.

Conceptually the new addition was designed as a long shadow of the original Victorian cottage, the early morning shadow of the cottage cast into three-dimensional form, a shadow projecting from the cottage and casting down into the nature reserve. The consideration of shadow in the design also led to the over sized eave to the west responding to the suns path and a desire to recede from the sun as it moves into the afternoon sky. 

The stained timber cladding clearly defines the new house from the existing, creating the built shadow cast from the outline of the historic weatherboard dwelling. North facing glazing allows low winter light to penetrate deep into the plan and provide passive heating during the cooler months.

The interior is lined with salvaged timber boards and FSC plywood panels imparting a warm glow to the living spaces, which is enhanced at night by concealed lighting that illuminates the folded timber ceiling, a continuation of the black exterior eaves. The dramatic roof overhang provides shading to the windows and leads the eye down to the gully and the trees beyond.

ESD was embedded in the project from its inception and developed collaboratively with the clients. A compact footprint retains the existing frontage and utilises low embodied energy and salvaged materials. Living spaces are orientated to north with generous eaves optimising seasonal solar access. Bathrooms are finished in tiles and pavers that were destined for landfill. Passive comfort is further enhanced through high level insulation, internalised thermal mass, grey water re-use and cross ventilation through thermally broken windows.

How to choose the perfect indoor plants

How to choose the perfect indoor plants

The forgotten art of choosing a good carpet - how to get it right

The forgotten art of choosing a good carpet - how to get it right