Local House | Zen Architects

Local House | Zen Architects | Photographer: Derek Swalwell

2023 National Architecture Awards Program

Local House | Zen Architects

Traditional Land Owners


Residential Architecture – Houses (New)
CBD Contracting Group
Derek Swalwell
Project summary

Local House is home to a couple who love art, travelling and appreciate good design. They have four adult children, recently became grandparents, and wanted a house where their family could comfortably visit and stay.

Designed for aging in place, their new single-storey home is accessible and mobility-friendly. The planning separates private, public and guest spaces – allowing the house to expand and contract with visiting family members – and is interwoven with outdoor and landscaped areas.

We selected a robust and tactile material palette to integrate the house within its setting, helping connect the building to the site and the garden weaving inside and out. These natural, recycled and sustainable materials – sourced almost entirely from within Victoria – will age gracefully, minimising maintenance and contributing to healthy interiors. Carefully placed windows optimise light and ventilation for passive solar design, and the landscape will grow in, around and over the house with time.

Victorian Jury Presentation

We’ve lived on this block for 30 years. We decided to create a house that we could live in as we age. Sustainability and accessibility were practical priorities.

Zen Architects started with a survey of the sun path across the block and built this into the house design. We now have natural light and connection to the garden in every part of the house, even in winter and are protected from the sun at its peak during summer. There’s a high window in the living room that picks up the most amazing winter sunsets. It’s like a painting up there.

Project Practice Team

Madeleine Ingham, Graduate of Architecture
Riccardo Zen, Design Architect
Sanderson Bell, Graduate of Architecture

Project Consultant and Construction Team

Efficiency Matrix, ESD Consultant
Floyd Energy, ESD Consultant
Metro Building Surveying, Building Surveyor
OPS Engineers, Structural Engineer

Connect with Zen Architects
Local House | Zen Architects | Photographer: Derek Swalwell

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