Camberwell’s concrete casa scores tops with Australia by Design judges  

A concrete house has just been voted the top Architectural Statement of Victoria for the year in the new Channel Ten series, Australia By Design.  

The Camberwell House features extensive use of off-form, in-situ concrete for external walls and exposed interior walls, floors and benches, juxtaposed with large picture windows and doors that allow in the natural light.  

Australia by Design Presenter and Victorian Government Architect, Jill Garner, describes the home as “…spectacular”, and says although the design relies on a limited palate, “….it’s one that works beautifully.”  

The house was designed by Mexican architect, Andres Casillas de Alba, who handed the reins over to Matthew Scully, from Melbourne-based Evolva Architects, to oversee the implementation of the former’s vision.  

The design evolved out of an eight-year dialogue between Casillas and the husband and wife homeowners – she originally from Mexico, he from New Zealand, but both enamoured of the work of renowned Mexican architect, Luis Barragan (an early mentor of Casillas). The design is based on a centuries-old Spanish quadrangular plan, where rooms open off one central space. A soaring clerestory window throws dramatic north light deep inside, casting shadows onto the internal walls, while outside the garden and pool, surrounded by high concrete walls, convey a monastic sense of tranquillity. The ceiling heights vary from nine metres at the clerestory window to five-metres in the living area, to little more than head height in a second-level study that overlooks the living area.  

Speaking on Australia by Design, Mathew Scully describes concrete as an under-used material in house design – ‘a beautiful material with a soft, velvety finish.’  

One of the defining features of the Camberwell House is the slight, natural variations in the concrete surfaces produced by the formwork, creating a raw, authentic aesthetic.  At the same time, the use of concrete says this is a house built to last and, combined with its minimal on-going maintenance requirements, an economical and sustainable building choice.  

More information on the Camberwell House can be found in issue 23 of our C+A publication.  

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Diane Niu - Marketing Director, CCAA Ph. 02 9667 8305