A new farmhouse built using recycled materials has won a prestigious 2021 Design Matters National Best Residential Design New House award.
The challenge with the brief was to find local builders and craftspeople who could make the mix of old and new work.
The residential property at the foot of Mount Buninyong was designed by Ballarat's Project Now architects with an emphasis on shared spaces and inside-outside connectivity, says company director Luke Jennings.
"The challenge in a job like this is ensuring that the trades are excited and enthusiastic to take it on, and certainly for this particular project they were engaged and supportive of that direction, particularly the builder, Madigan builders, and the bricklayer, Newmac bricklaying," he says.
"They were instrumental drivers in the repurposing of reclaimed materials and getting that tactile nature so important to this project."
Inspired by the surrounds of the semi-rural property, Mr Jennings says what drove the design process was the concept of connection - creating open, inviting warm spaces for both family use and entertaining.
He says the use of a strong gable design and recycled material has led to several other homes in Ballarat and nearby drawing inspiration from the house.
"It's a very bold and strong form, quite popular at the moment," he says.
"In more recent times there's a bit of a shift away from the flat, minimalist roof profiles into bolder, stronger roof forms, like these gable ends.
"Connecting with the surrounding geographical features was also the inspiration of the silhouette; the twin peaks of Mount Buninyong and Mount Warrenheip and expanses of the Union Jack Reserve serve as the broader backdrop of the property, mirrored in the twin gables and spanning gable of the north and south rooflines."
Mr Jennings says materials and finishes were also selected to reflect the region and semi-rural outlook, continuing exterior finishes into the interior for a consistent homely and rustic feel.
While salvaging previously-used building materials is becoming increasingly popular in bespoke homes, finding them has become more challenging.
"Certainly over the COVID period we had trouble sourcing the materials," Mr Jennings says.
"There's not as much to be salvaged over the last couple of years with limited demolition work, so there's now a shortfall of product available.
"We are always trying to understand what drives us, what makes us enthusiastic, and focusing on that, which is these types of projects - these boutique, high-quality or bespoke homes which require an extra level of attention and detail, rather than being mass-produced.
"Ballarat has started to exhaust its land opportunities other than estate living out west," Mr Jennings says.
"So these boutique or bespoke land designs, they generally require a tailored, customised floor plan and an elevation style."
Luke Jennings is looking forward to seeing innovative reuse of buildings in the CBD and around Ballarat generally, in an effort to curb sprawl and rejuvenate the CBD.
"I have a personal preference for more urban infill developments and intensifying the CBD."
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