Style council: Our most beautiful new buildings revealed

Paddington Courtyard House

Paddington Courtyard House

The Woollahra Council’s Design Excellence Awards highlight the brilliant work of architects across the East, write Emma-Kate Wilson and Lara Picone

Architect  Amelia Holliday had a specific brief when she went to redesign her own dilapidated terrace house in Paddington last year.

"The house was designed as a home for a growing family — an architect and builder. We had our first daughter in the house,” says Holliday, who not only was lead architect, but also the client.

Holliday envisaged flowing indoor and outdoor spaces that gave the terrace a unique relationship to its garden, as well as being the sort of low-maintenance home that busy parents need.

Her redesign and reimagining of what became known as the Paddington Courtyard House won  two awards in the Woollahra Council’s 2019 Design Excellence Awards for Holliday and the architecture firm she co-founded — Aileen Sage Architects. The house received the nod for best new building (other than multiple housing) and for sustainability.

Belgravia Rose Bay

Belgravia Rose Bay

"Each of the living spaces has a different relationship to the garden,” Holliday tells Local East.  “Careful consideration was given to how different spaces might be used at different times of the year and also change in use and occupation as the family expanded and grew in age.” 

And while a rundown terrace formed the core of the project, it was not a case of out with the old and in with the new materials. Instead the architect embraced the heritage of the area, reflecting on the surrounding streets for textures and memories of the site. A mixed palette of sandstone, bagged recycled brick and painted masonry, and clear and patterned glass were utilised for their “robust and timeless character while also focusing on embodied energy and minimal ongoing maintenance”.

The house was one of a number of outstanding local properties acknowledged in the awards, which celebrate the preservation of this character alongside significant new builds. Praise and acknowledgment is given to a range of worthy architectural projects nominated by residents across seven categories.

Sunny Brae

Sunny Brae

This year’s winners varied from alterations to a ’60s-era Bellevue Hill home by Luigi Rosselli Architects to the delicate conservation work on the amenities building at historic Neilsen Park. The restoration carried out by John Cockings of JCA Architechts earned the firm both the heritage and people’s choice award.

Woollahra mayor Peter M Cavanagh chose to honour the sensitive alterations made to Sunny Brae, a former architect’s home in Vaucluse, by David White Architects, for this year’s mayor’s award. And when it came to new builds, MHN Design Union’s boutique Belgravia apartment block in Rose Bay walked away with the award for new building multiple housing; its bold, sculptural design proving that new and exciting architecture, if good, will never go unappreciated in the East.

2019 Woollahra Design Excellence Awards winners

Heritage Award (including heritage items and heritage conservation areas) & People's Choice Award: John Cockings of JCA Associates for WTB + ETB Nielsen Park

Design: Alterations and Additions Award (other than multiple housing): Luigi Rosselli Architects for Homage to Oscar

Design: New Buildings Award (other than multiple housing) & Sustainability Award: Aileen Sage Architects for Paddington Courtyard House

Design: New Buildings Multiple Housing Award: MHN Design Union for Belgravia

Mayor's Award: David White Architects for Sunny Brae

Homage to Oscar

Homage to Oscar