Superhouse: architecture and interiors beyond the everyday

Solo House Pezo von Ellrichshausen photo by Richard PowersShowcasing stunning examples of local and international residential architecture and interiors, Superhouse: architecture and interiors beyond the everyday is currently on display at the Museum of Sydney until 29 November 2015.

Curated by Karen McCartney and featuring breathtaking photography by Richard Powers, Superhouse highlights some of the world’s most extraordinary homes and interesting living spaces, from an intimate prefab space designed overnight to a revitalised 16th-century castle.

“The exhibition demonstrates how architectural experimentation and daring can challenge notions of how we should live.  A superhouse delivers a 360-degree completeness of form, its exterior and interior have a seamless execution and above all else, it is awe-inspiring,” said exhibition curator Karen McCartney.

“This quality can be elicited from the perfection of its natural setting, a remarkable use of materials, an exceptional level of craft, ground-breaking innovation or a use of space that lifts the spirit.”

Content is drawn from Karen McCartney’s latest publication of the same name and enhanced by unique local examples. The houses presented in the exhibition are brought to life through vivid photography, feature furniture and interior decoration, and filmed interviews with some of the architects who designed the homes. Thought-provoking interviews with influencers and opinion-makers also explore the notion of what makes a house ‘super’.

Superhouse reveals fifteen extraordinary houses across five themes: Re-make, Finding Form, Small Spaces, Roof Tops & Skylines and The Land.  From Monza Loft (Lissoni Associati, 2009) in Italy and Skylight House (Chenchow Little, 2013) in Balmain, Sydney, both a showcase for reinvention of existing spaces, to The Trunk House (Paul Morgan Architects, 2011) in Victoria and The Goulding Summerhouse (Scott Tallon Walker Architects, 1971-73) in Ireland, houses that show how small, intimate spaces can exert an architectural power all of their own.

Some examples reveal an extraordinary connection to the landscape on which they sit, such as the award-winning House in Country (Virginia Kerridge, 2010) in the NSW Hunter Valley or The Pierre (Olson Kundig Architects, 2013) in Seattle, a house literally built into a rocky outcrop.  Others showcase a completeness of form, where the exterior and interior are equally resolved, such as the Flinders House (Wood Marsh Architecture, 2012) in Victoria and Masetti House (Paulo Mendes da Rocha, 1969) in Brazil.

The exhibition also includes immersive areas where visitors can get a sense of three inspiring houses through a selection of materials and furnishings:  Almere House (Benthem Crouwel Architeken, 1982-1984) in The Netherlands; Astley Castle (Witherford Watson Mann, 2013) in Warwickshire, England; and the Solo House (Pezo von Ellrichshausen, 2009-2012) in Spain.

Almere House challenges the notion of what makes a superhouse. This prefab structure was conceived as an experiment in impermanence but became a long term residence for the architect Jan Benthem and his family. Once a ruin dating back to the 12th century, Astley Castle was transformed by a contemporary interior and re-imagined in a way that retains its history without mimicking its original form. The Solo House rethinks the very nature of what a house can be by positioning the living space on a series of verandahs around the edge of the building with a swimming pool at its centre.

“We are thrilled to be working again with Karen McCartney following the wonderful success of the Iconic Australian Houses exhibition in 2014. Karen has found some of the most extraordinary houses from around the world, revealing ground-breaking architecture and beautiful living spaces. Visitors to the exhibition will be truly inspired,” said Executive Director of Sydney Living Museums, Mark Goggin.

Supporting the Superhouse exhibition will be a series of talks curated by Karen McCartney, featuring a range of guest speakers including architects Hannah Tribe and James Stockwell, and social researcher Dr Rebecca Huntley, as well as tours through some inspiring Sydney homes.

Superhouse: architecture and interiors beyond the everyday
Museum of Sydney, Corner Bridge and Phillip Streets, Sydney
Exhibition continues to 29 November 2015
Free with general museum admission

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Solo House, Pezo von Ellrichshausen, 2009-2012 – photo by Richard Powers