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. 

Produced in partnership with Bosch

East Fremantle by NIC BRUNSDON

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. 

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Photography by Dion Robeson

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Photography by Tom Ferguson and Katherine Lu

Dulwich Hill Vaults by Benn & Penna

Benn + Penna have carefully preserved this existing worker’s cottage through an unassuming rear concrete addition that establishes a connection with the garden. Each space in the pared-back, new addition is defined by a truncated ceiling vault and skylight above it, subtly marking the different zones without the interruption of solid walls. The Bosch Series 8 built-in oven, built-in oven with microwave and warming drawer were specified in the kitchen for their low energy rating. The Bosch built-in oven is fitted with quadruple-glazed CoolTouch doors, designed to keep the heat in while providing a safe-to-touch door on the outside.

Ruxton Rise by studiofour

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.

AIDA Awards Shortlist 2020: Ruxton Rise by studiofour

Photography by Shannon McGrath

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Photography by Dave Wheeler

Bondi House by Studio Johnston

The Bondi House by Studio Johnston (formerly Fox Johnston) is a blueprint for mindful multi-level living within a compact corner site in a leafy back street. The architects reworked the existing structure – one of two semi-detached houses – using locally-crafted materials like Colorbond roofing, Sparrow Pecked sandstone and copper cladding. The kitchen backs out onto a courtyard and outdoor dining area filled with native flora. It features plantation timber joinery, 4 Green Star tapware and the Bosch Series 8 oven and Bosch Series 8 Flex induction cooktop. Integrated halogen lighting in the Bosch Series 8 oven is more durable than standard lighting and designed to last longer. In the same vein, the Bosch Series 8 Flex induction cooktop produces heat where it’s needed most; at the base of the pan or pot. 

Cooks River House by studioplusthree

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.

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Photography by Tom Ferguson

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Photography by Tom Ross

Vivarium by Architecture Architecture

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.

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Photography by Robert Walsh

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Photography by Tom Ross

Edgars Creek House by Breathe Architecture

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. 

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