These five homes are a testament to why architects have long favoured concrete as a building material.
In an interview with est, Architects EAT co-director Albert Mo reflected on concrete being one of his favourite materials to work with. “The art of using concrete to create architecture requires technology, engineering and craftsmanship to work together simultaneously,” he said. “It is timeless and robust – after all, this is what created the Roman Empire.” We’ve showcased several homes on estliving.com and in the pages of est magazine that hero this ancient material, with five standout examples making their way into this lineup.
In a quiet pocket of houses overlooking the Tasman Sea, enveloped by towering spotted gum trees, lies a single-storey concrete-clad house perched atop a series of block-work walls.
“Any work of architecture, wherever it may be, should reframe or recalibrate our relationship with that place,” Edition Office co-director Aaron Roberts told est in an interview. The studio put this philosophy into practice by using materials with a low carbon footprint that echo the landscape. The interiors of Mossy Point consist of two types of sustainably-sourced timber, hardwood plywood and spotted gum – the silvery bark of the latter being conveyed through the home’s grey concrete exterior panelling.
Malvern Garden House
Though the introduction of a rear concrete pavilion, Taylor Knights gave this 1930s heritage home a contemporary revival on a sloping site in Malvern, Melbourne.
Taylor Knights’ approach to the redesign focused on injecting natural light wherever possible through full-height glazing, taking advantage of the lush backyard. The pavilion supports a discreet roof garden that spills over the exterior concrete lip, accommodating the new kitchen and dining room that’s characterised by concrete ceilings and terrazzo flooring. The bespoke curved kitchen island bench reveals a touch of 1970s modernism illuminated by an angular skylight that punctuates the concrete ceiling.
Architect Bram Van’s Antwerp Home
Studio Okami’s founding partner Bram Van Cauter took est through his renovated Brutalist-style apartment in Antwerp, Belgium.
The architect stripped back the five-bedroom, two-storey interior to create a breathy, single-bedroom loft connected by a striking blue staircase. His playful approach to colour, texture and scale saw the concrete-clad interior transform into a gallery-like space for him and his small family. “The Brutalist character of the building is very strong, and the spaces are so well designed. Being 50 years old, the building has its flaws and quirks, but I strongly believe that good design has the capacity to be appreciated for generations to come,” Bram says.
Nielsen Jenkins founder and architect Morgan Jenkins was approached by his sister to design a family home that was deeply immersed in the surrounding native flora of Brisbane’s Mt Coot-ha.
The design team have explored themes of connection and refuge with a robust and raw material palette, including concrete, extruded mesh and steel. Inside, the exposed concrete blocks are offset by soft fabrics and leather furniture to invoke comfort and warmth.
A central courtyard runs adjacent to the living area, creating a space for daily rituals to be enjoyed from interior to exterior. The outdoor spaces act as bubbles of nature – shielded behind concrete blocks. The robust walls add a layer of protection without obscuring the view.
Architects EAT established a family sanctuary in the heart of Flinders, Victoria, marked by the imaginative use of internal and external concrete.
The home features a series of tiered, concrete-clad skylights that resemble the pleated sides of an old ‘Bellows Camera’. Like a camera, the skylights draw light deep into the home, altering the colour of the concrete walls over the course of the day. “The heaviness of the skylights’ internal structures makes their minimal exteriors feel like eggshells in comparison,” Architects EAT co-director Albert Mo says.
Architects EAT are known for evoking curiosity and engagement through their expressive street vistas. On the outside, Bellows House is an obscure expression of bleached concrete and pyramid-like roofs, capturing the attention of passers-by.