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Adam Haddow’s 69-square-metre home in Surry Hills has long attracted stickybeaks before it caught the eye of the architecture world.
The Sydney architect’s house was built on a scrap of land with an eye-catching facade, including a motley collection of windows, used broken bricks left over from another project, bathroom marble and tiles that nobody else wanted and a bronze front gate by artist Mika Utzon-Popov.
The property won World Interior of the Year category at the World Architecture Festival this weekend in Singapore.
Sydney architect Adam Haddow on the roof top of his Surry Hills home, which won two prizes at the World Architecture Festival in Singapore.Credit: Nick Moir
A landscape painting by Nicholas Harding, which imagines the area before European settlement, hangs on a wall in the living room but can be seen from the street.
The Eora artwork, which won the 2022 Wynne Prize, was installed in the home three days before the artist died.
It is one of the features that prompted the judges to describe Haddow’s home as “like a wardrobe for the architect himself to live in … not only a building or an interior but a pocket-sized tour de force”.
Adam Haddow at home in Surry Hills.Credit: Damian Bennett
Haddow said the home, which won the Australian Institute of Architects’ Robin Boyd Award earlier this year, showed what can be achieved when “you consider the challenge of housing differently”.
“Australian housing is unfortunately one size fits all,” he said. “We need to stretch our thinking and start making housing that better reflects our diverse communities – rather than just accept what’s offered by the market.”
For Haddow, that meant sacrificing space to live within walking distance of his workplace and friends.
“It’s a perfect spot,” he said. “I’ve lived in Surry Hills for 15 years, and it’s nice to stay where your friends are and where you know the person who makes your coffee.”
Adam Haddow with Eric the terrier in his living room in front of Nicholas Harding’s painting, Eora.Credit: Damian Bennett
Haddow said the home was an example of how the Minns government’s determination to increase density in inner-city areas can be achieved without ruining neighbourhood character.
The small size of the home – built on 30 square metres of land – meant giving up things like car parking, “but that’s OK because we walk everywhere”, Haddow said.
“You realise life is simpler with a smaller house – less clutter, fewer things to worry about,” he said. “It clears the mind a little bit.”
Yet a storage area inside the front door has room for bottles of wine, shoes, cleaning products, camping gear and a bike.
“It’s like a well-tailored jacket,” he said. “It’s a house that fits us really well. There’s nothing to waste. It doesn’t mean it’s cheap. Small isn’t mean.”
Winning kudos from his architecture peers is gratifying, but equally important is the opinion of Haddow’s husband Michael.
“I come home every day after work and my husband says ‘I love this house’,” he said. “That’s a very nice thing as a designer to have someone say.”
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