A “playful and refreshing reinvention” of the beach shack has been named Australian House of the Year, the top prize from an impressive field of entries in the 2020 Houses Awards.

Cantala Avenue House by ME impressed the jury with its skilfully between public and private space to make a genuine contribution to the neighbourhood.

“[The project] champions the capacity of modest residential architecture to significantly impact the way we live in Australia,” said the jury.

“ME has solved ordinary design problems in an extraordinary way, reconsidering the suburban status quo and pushing boundaries, literally and figuratively – and all within a reasonable budget.”

Cantala Avenue House is also a joint winner in the House Alteration and Addition over 200 m2 category alongside Ruckers Hill House by Studio Bright.

Also winning multiple awards is Fitzroy North 02 by Rob Kennon Architects, recognized with an award for New House under 200 m2 and for House in a Heritage Context.

The 2020 Houses Awards were announced live on 31 July.

The winners are:

Australian House of the Year

Cantala Avenue HouseME

New House under 200 m2

Fitzroy North 02Rob Kennon Architects

New House over 200 m2

Subiaco House Vokes and Peters

House Alteration and Addition under 200 m2

Bismarck HouseAndrew Burges Architects

House Alteration and Addition over 200 m2 – joint winners

Ruckers Hill HouseStudio Bright

Cantala Avenue HouseME

Apartment or Unit

Cremorne Point ApartmentStudio Plus Three

Garden or Landscape

Vaucluse Garden Jane Irwin Landscape Architecture with Bates Landscape

House in a Heritage Context

Fitzroy North 02Rob Kennon Architects


Waratah Secondary HouseAnthrosite

Emerging Architecture Practice

Lineburg Wang


A total of 22 projects and two emerging practices received commendations across nine categories.

The Houses Awards, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2020, has become one of the country’s most sought-after accolades.

On the 2020 jury were: Barrie Marshall (founding partner, Denton Corker Marshall), James Russell (principal, James Russell Architect), Poppy Taylor (founding partner, Taylor and Hinds), Hannah Tribe (principal, Tribe Studio Architects), with sustainability adviser Peter Steele (head of energy services, Green Sync) and architectural advice in House in a Heritage Context category provided by Helen Lardner (director, HLCD).

See full image galleries of all the winning and shortlisted projects here.

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