Due to COVID-19 the 2021 Mosman Design Awards have been postponed until 2023

Almora House

ArchitectTonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects

The house is organised along a central circulation spine, punctuated by a frangipane tree at one end, and a contemporary Australian sculpture at the other.

From within, its room-forms ‘press’ out into the landscape setting. The perimeter of the house is extended by a series of courtyards which disintegrate the otherwise pure form of the building. These extended areas draw the sun deep into the plan, answering our client’s wish for abundant natural light on a site that is enclosed by nine other dwellings.

The ceiling form exhibits the wondrous plasticity of concrete. A series of orthogonal timber forms sit inside the concrete shell, easing the more functional requirements while establishing a more detailed, domestic scale. This timber form then ‘leaves’ the house transitioning to become the entry screen and taking on a more exuberant character – as if in counterpoint to the calm concrete ceiling glimpsed from the street.


All cost decisions were based on the selection of materials with the longest life span, and building systems (heating, cooling etc.) with the lowest energy consumption. With such permanence and longevity in mind, we designed the house in generous slabs and curves of in-situ concrete with timber and glass infill.

Photos: Brett Boardman