Australia House

Australia House

An intersection of art and community

Set in the ‘snow country’ of Niigata Prefecture Japan, Andrew Burns Architecture has completed a gallery, studio and atelier, creating a setting for production and exhibition of work by Australian artists in collaboration with local community. The building replaces a previous structure which collapsed in a powerful aftershock on March 12, 2011. Designed to resist extreme earthquake and snow-loading conditions, the new building stands as a symbol of healing and transformation in this distinctive region of Japan.

Brook Andrew’s work ‘Mountain Home – dhirrayn ngurang’ is permanently installed within the space, elaborating the architectural composition and weaving story and local community into the building fabric.

The proposal received first place in international design competition. Jury chair Tadao Ando commented: ‘It is difficult to form a triangle. However, it could create interesting architecture since it is difficult. I find the approach to the house attractive and different elements well arranged. The idea of dealing with snow is thoughtful, considering that the site is located in a heavy snowfall region. It would be fantastic if only the triangular roof was visible as the rest of the house is covered with three-metre-high snow.’

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Client: Australian Embassy Tokyo, Tokamachi City Government
Supporters: Austraila-Japan Foundation, International Culture Appreciation and Interchange Society inc, Echigo-Tsumari Triennale
Location: Niigata, Japan
Value: $400K
Status: Complete (1st prize international competition)

Project team: Andrew Burns, Casey Bryant
Local architects: Souhei Imamura, Sotaro Yamamoto
Structural engineer: Low Fat Structure
Contractor: Onojeima Constructions
Photography: © Brett Boardman
Awards: Jorn Utzon Award for International Architecture 2013