We explore eight kitchens by leading Australian architects and designers that are mindful of people, the planet and what came before.
In a time where many large-scale companies and small businesses are making commitments to sustainable practices and carbon neutrality, we’re exploring how we as individuals can make small yet impactful changes inside the most-used area of our own homes; the kitchen.
In this edit, we’re turning our attention to eight projects that manifest mindful design in the kitchen. Whether it be through a newfound connection to the outdoors, careful reorientation, or the use of energy-efficient appliances and materials, each kitchen is designed to tread lightly on the earth and equally benefit the happiness and health of its inhabitants.
East Fremantle House by NIC BRUNSDON sees a sustainable, contextually-sensitive addition onto a humble brick cottage in Perth, responding to the northern garden and narrow site. The kitchen is housed in the new north-facing extension that opens up entirely through sliding glass doors onto the garden, allowing light and natural ventilation in the kitchen and living area. Durable materials like polished concrete flooring, vaulted timber ceilings and bagged white brick have been carefully selected as they will stand the test of time. An overhead kitchen skylight minimises the use of downlights throughout the day.
studiofour’s Ruxton Rise residence reflects their commitment to healthy homes for a healthy planet, home to co-director Sarah Henry. The Beaumaris home encourages conversation and togetherness in the kitchen. The combined kitchen island bench and dining table become one furniture piece for all family members to use for their individual tasks at once. At the same time, a built-in herb garden invites nature into the home. Other mindful measures in the home include careful wiring processes that minimise electromagnetic fields, a comprehensive water filtration system and a timeless, natural material palette that has been deliberately selected for its durability.
studioplusthree’s Cooks River House is a sustainable family home overlooking Cook’s River in inner-Western Sydney. The original home – a single-storey bungalow with an unsympathetic rear addition – failed to connect with the natural surrounds. studioplusthree removed the addition and stripped the home back to its roots, inserting a new timber-clad first storey volume on top of the original home. GECA (Good Environmental Choice Australia) certified olive-green cabinetry in the kitchen references the natural surroundings, contrasted with Spotted Gum joinery and flooring – a highly regenerative type of timber. Double-glazed full-height glass captures the essence of the outdoors and invites the landscape into the design.
Architecture Architecture are committed to creating unpretentious, healthy environments with a genuine connection to the landscape. The brief for this home in Thornbury, Melbourne was to design a home with a low environmental impact that felt distinctly different from its neighbouring weatherboard homes. Architecture Architecture selected a hardwearing palette of cement cladding, recycled Silvertop ash lining boards and Blackbutt battens inside, with timber joinery and robust (and recyclable) stainless steel benchtops in the kitchen.
Bendalong Beach House by Madeleine Blanchfield Architects
Sydney architect Madeleine Blanchfield designed the Bendalong Beach House as a weekender for her retired parents. The single-storey pavilion is immersed in the landscape, disappearing into the environment and becoming one with the coastal surroundings. The kitchen is part of the home’s central hub with the dining and living space, enclosed by operable timber screens that allow the house to recede into the garden when open and provide a sense of protection when closed. The kitchen features a timber bench and plywood cabinetry. Madeleine Blanchfield Architects selected plywood for its strength and durability – highly resistant to moisture. Polished concrete flooring acts as a thermal mass heat sink for passive climate control, so the home maintains a comfortable temperature year-round.
This home on the banks of Edgars Creek in Melbourne’s Coburg North is divided into three pavilions to preserve the existing mature gum trees, with each zone accessible and linked through the central courtyard. Breathe Architecture has made every effort to prioritise raw and sustainable materials both inside and out and eliminate superfluous finishes. This design approach can be seen particularly in the kitchen, where Australian Ironbark decking forms the flooring, paired with Messmate benchtops and a raw brass splashback. The outcome is an honest yet functional cooking space that prioritises less applied finishes and more robust materials.