After a long deliberation over this year's commended projects, the jury agreed that The Garden Bunkie by Reddog Architects deserves the Sustainability award. This small building, akin to a granny flat, is called the "bunkie" in reference to the name given to humble Ontario guest cottages. Beautifully detailed and designed, the light-filled building connects intimately to the garden, providing a flexible space that could be a quiet retreat for a new parent, an evening workspace or a guesthouse for extended family.
This project is awarded for its modesty, and for its use of timber and simple materials to produce an affordable outcome that makes both a social and ecological statement. In particular, the jury commends the project team for designing around existing trees and connecting the dwelling to the local landscape, achieving biophilic benefits for the occupants while respecting nature. The use of sliding screens, skylights and well-orientated windows allows the building to achieve passive gains from natural light, heat and cooling. This considered collaboration between the architect, structural engineer and builder has resulted in an affordable, adaptable and integrated outcome.
The simple, robust exterior of the Garden Bunkie belies it’s delicate, light filled interior. With a scale and materiality that recalls a garden shed and a front façade resembling a timber paling fence, the Bunkie sits inconspicuously in the landscape.