Even though their design can be included in the generic worldwide modern trend in architecture, it is their work with light and shade as well as attention to detail that I believe differentiates Craig Steere Architects from many other architectural companies. They specialise in designing upmarket housing as well as retail and commercial facilities. Established in 1994, this Australian company focuses on meeting the client’s needs and puts emphasis on the sustainability of the design. Their space arrangement responds to the environment and enhances the inside-outside connection. Their designs definitely have moments of excitement, however, often they appear heavy and not distinctive. 

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1. Gallery House 

This longitudinal house, which overlooks the River Swan, is organised around a courtyard and establishes an inside-outside connection through the use of pergola that acts as a physical and visual connection. There is an interplay of black and white which creates a graphic expression of the house. 

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Gallery House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Gallery House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Gallery House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/

2. North Cottesloe Residence

This house was designed to take advantage of the nearby beach and offer the most interesting views. All the living spaces are organised so that they have natural light and introduce a passive-solar design. Unfortunately, the use of large volumes and horizontal proportions make the house appear heavy and bulky. 

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North Cottesloe Residence - Sheet2
North Cottesloe Residence ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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North Cottesloe Residence ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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North Cottesloe Residence ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/

3. Inside-Outside House

The use of elements: natural wood, brick and concrete – complement each other and create a warm atmosphere inside the house. The cantilevered box creates a dramatic effect and introduces dynamism to space. The brick was arranged in a way to allow light to come through creating a serene and elegant atmosphere while increasing the privacy of the space. 

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Inside Outside House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Inside Outside House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Inside Outside House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/

4. Tetris House

The focus of the design is on intricate light-shade interaction created by the concrete blocks wrapping around the space. The black elements, together with the concrete features and voids that enable views of the sky make this design very successful.

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Tetris House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Tetris House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Tetris House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/

5. Cottesloe Villa

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The use of dark wood panels is consistent throughout spaces in the design and gives a sense of continuity. The house is finished with attention to detail. It is well-proportioned and even though there is an interesting interplay of set-back volumes and voids, the thickness of the front, white-plastered element creates heaviness and presents a missed opportunity. 

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Cottesloe Villa ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Cottesloe Villa ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Cottesloe Villa ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/

6. Element House

The use of concrete and black volumes is very successful in this house and is not only expressed on the outside but taken inside the house. The use of double-height spaces is beautifully interwoven with a series of terraced volumes formed by concrete-framed voids and black-box insertions into the main atrium space. It creates a space with lots of possibilities for social interactions. The use of natural materials with black-framed windows is well-balanced.

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Element House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Element House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Element House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/

7. Shenton Park Residence

The most interesting aspect of this design is the fact that outdoor living was raised to allow for more privacy and create better views directed towards the lake. There is a strong emphasis on natural light and spatial flexibility inside the house. Notwithstanding the beautiful bathrooms that use Carrera marble tiles, the whiteness of the house overwhelms you when you look inside.

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Shenton Park Residence - Sheet2
Shenton Park Residence ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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IShenton Park Residence ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Shenton Park Residence ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/

8. Classical Villa

The upper floor of the house that uses a set-back facade with a dramatic, clean line of the roof creates an interesting and dramatic visual quality. The contrasts between the lightness of the higher floor and the heaviness of the bottom could have been executed in a more interesting way. 

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Classical Villa ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Classical Villa ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Classical Villa ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/

 

9. River View House

There is a very interesting interplay of black thin lines of the glazed facades and the terrace in contrast to the vertical white volumes. The house maximises the views onto the river and creates a courtyard that faces north, to bring natural light inside the house. 

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River View House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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River View House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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River View House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/

10. Bay View House

The house focuses on the views onto Bay View Park which is a part of natural heritage. It also imitates the tree in the shape of the sculpted column. The set back facade on the ground floor creates a floating expression of the aluminium frame that encompasses the concrete balustrade.

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Bay View House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Bay View House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Bay View House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/

11. Redgate Beach House

This house plays with horizontal and vertical proportions through the use of textures and materials. There is an interesting interplay between an inside and outside as well as a minimalist combination of concrete, metal and wood that gives the house a modern, industrial feel. There is a variety of light-shade patterns visible throughout the space.

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Redgate Beach House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Redgate Beach House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Redgate Beach House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/

 

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12. Shenton Park Lake House

The mixture of thin and thick white volumes that create a front facade seems unorganised. The whiteness of the house is overbearing especially when you move indoors. The house is designed to give the best possible views onto the Shenton Park while enhancing its privacy.

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Shenton Park Lake House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Shenton Park Lake House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Shenton Park Lake House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/

13. Light and Shade House

The vertical use of slim black elements creates an interesting light-shade interaction within the space. The spaces are organised around a courtyard and a lot of attention was directed towards ensuring the privacy of the house. 

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Light and Shade House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Light and Shade House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Light and Shade House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/

14. Sandstone Beach House

The house was completely reconstructed and reorganised internally as well as gardens were reconfigured. It is located near a South Cottesloe beach and uses it as an inspiration for the use of materials and creation of a space that reflects a coastal lifestyle. The most interesting and dynamic part of the design is a warm, stone frame that covers the terrace in the garden. Its volume is broken by a line of windows that bring lightness to the design. 

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Sandstone Beach House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Sandstone Beach House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Sandstone Beach House ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/

15. Peppermint Grove Residence

This reconstruction of the old Colonial-era bungalow kept the traditional elements of the house when erecting a second storey on top of it. An open plan living was created by recomposition of the internal layout. The materials were kept consistent and in agreement with the character of the house. 

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Peppermint Grove Residence ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Peppermint Grove Residence ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
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Peppermint Grove Residence ©craigsteerearchitects.com.au/
Author

A graduate from the Architectural Association with an interest in urban studies and public spaces that actively change and influence the neighbourhood. Her area of research focuses on the development of European metropolises and the way the architectural theory impacts their design.

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Rethinking The Future Awards 2022