Inside Australia's 'House of the Year'

A hillside sanctuary in Sydney’s northern beaches has won the coveted titled of 2018 Australian House of the Year.

Cabbage Tree House is a unique, cave-like home located in Bayview on Sydney’s Northern Beaches about 30 kilometres north of Sydney’s CBD.

The prize was part of 2018 Houses Awards, an annual competition that bestows architectural titles including Australian house of the year, best apartment or unit and best alterations. 

Designed by Peter Stutchbury Architecture, the home is carved into a rock shelf and features a luxurious in ground pool with bush land views.

Cabbage Tree House in Bayview has been crowned the 2018 Australian House of the Year. Source: Michael Nicholson
The hillside sanctuary in Sydney’s Northern Beaches is carved into a rock shelf. Source: Michael Nicholson

“The Cabbage Tree House is a remarkable, complete Australian house that authentically and poetically embraces its landscape setting on Sydney’s northern beaches,” the jury said.

“The building is elemental, cave-like and has a horizontality that places layers of the building as primary of the hillside.”

The home features a striking sloping facade which echoes its position in a natural rock face. Carved into a hill side, the home is set in a vertical rock garden which features lush pockets of greenery peeking out of stone.

Designed by Peter Stutchbury Architecture, the home features a luxurious in ground pool with bush land views. Source: Michael Nicholson
The panel praised the 2018 Australian House of the Year for its practical yet stylish details including circular skylights

The panel praised the home for its practical yet stylish details including circular skylights. Source: Michael NicholsonIn addition to the outdoors pool, the home features a rooftop courtyard which provides elevated views into vast bush land.

“One traverses the land physically and emotionally with the house,” the jury said.

According to the company’s website, Cabbage Tree House was a 2017 project by architect Emma Trask, at Peter Stutchbury Architecture.

The environmentally friendly home is designed to minimize heating and cooling costs, as it captures “cool breezes from the east in summer and is splayed to the north toward the winter sun”. 

The judging panel described Cabbage Tree House as “elemental” and “cave-like”. Source: Michael Nicholson
The environmentally friendly home is designed to minimise heating and cooling costs, due to its northern splay. Source: Michael Nicholson

A timeless façade is achieved by exposed concrete, steel and brickwork, which convey cosmetic and “thermal mass” benefits.  

“Although this house is undeniably an impressive piece of architecture, it has the warmth, layers and inhabitation of a welcoming home,” the jury said.

The panel praised the home for its practical yet stylish details.

“Every design detail is considered – from the circular skylights that give glimpses of blue skies above, to the handcrafted timber handrail to the stair,” the jury said.

A timeless façade is achieved by exposed concrete, steel and brickwork, which convey “thermal mass” benefits. Source: Michael Nicholson

“This home is the Australian House of the Year for it timeless qualities, impressive sculptural forms and connection to place,” the jury said.