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Alexander Symes Architect - Upside Down Akubra House

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The Upside Down Akubra House is a self-sufficient, off-grid home located in Country NSW. When viewed from afar, the house is defined by its large skillion roof that is inspired by the broad brim of an Akubra hat. The house is sustained by the sun and the rain that falls on the roof, it provides shelter and comfort from temperature extremes and it celebrates the unique landscape and vistas. In this way, the Upside Down Akubra House is as much ‘of’ the landscape as it is ‘in’ the landscape.

Internally, the house responds to the dynamic panorama of the site. With a compact service core at its centre, the living spaces are arranged around the perimeter. The kitchen and living spaces open generously towards Hanging Rock at the North East, culminating in a generous outdoor room. The bedrooms provide privacy and a space of refuge with carefully composed views over the surrounding paddocks.                     

2020 – Institute of Architects NSW Awards | Residential Architecture – Houses New | Commendation
2020 – Institute of Architects NSW Awards | COLORBOND® Award for Steel Architecture | Commendation
2020 – Habitus House of the Year | House of the Year 2020
2020 – Sustainability Awards | Single Dwelling (New) | Winner
2020 – INDE Awards | The Living Space | Honourable Mention
2020 – Housing Industry Association NSW | GreenSmart Sustainable Home | Winner
2020 – Housing Industry Association Australian | GreenSmart Custom Built | Winner
2020 – Housing Industry Association Northern NSW Region | GreenSmart Sustainable home | Winner
2020 – Master Builders Association NSW | Energy Efficiency – Housing ($800k-$2m) | Winner

Project Team

Alex Symes


Blue Eco Homes


Ascent Consulting Engineers – Structural Engineer
Energy Wise Living – Photo Voltaic Contractor
Maggs Engineering – Steel Fabrication
Southern Cabinetry – Joinery


Barton Taylor


Tamworth Regional Council