New Builds, Articles

Beautifully Articulated Finish

axon-exterior-modern-victoria-sandringhamhouse-ellularchitecture-jameshardie-9 (2) copy
Project Name
Sandringham House
Project Type
New builds
Jada Homes
Ellul Architecture

In striking juxtaposition to a large and sculptural oak tree, Ellul Architecture’s simple black pavilion is home to a young family within the suburban landscape of Bayside, Melbourne.

With its restrained detailing and careful material selection, architect Ben Ellul has designed for maximum internal volume, creating space for a young family to grow. Axon™ Cladding is an aesthetic driver, its grooved panels providing strength and scale, and a cost-effective cladding solution.


A compact plan with big ambitions

A series of courtyards are carved out of a simple pavilion form, resulting in a 230sqm sanctuary that has earned the home a place on the Houses Awards 2022 shortlist. A central courtyard is bookended by a multi-purpose family room and a living space. “When the weather's good, the owners can open up the courtyard doors to create a third space that connects the house,” says Ben. "It keeps the plan compact so we could spend money on full-height glazing and increased ceiling height, adding long-term value to the home.”


A central, double-height hallway links these spaces while also allowing light to penetrate deep into the floorplate through a series of highlight windows. This higher, central volume is lined in EasyLap™ Panel by James Hardie, a different finish to contrast with the primary Axon Cladding. Both are painted Dulux Black in a matt finish. Below this raised ceiling are doorways into bedrooms, bathrooms and a study, all concealed in a green feature wall of timber panelling.


The look of timber without the high maintenance

The low profile of the home sits comfortably behind a prominent oak tree, ensuring it has a modest relationship to the street. To achieve the look, Ben researched the various black cladding options.

“The fibre cement Axon Cladding is light on labour to install, it’s virtually bulletproof, easy to maintain, handles hits from kids playing, and is long lasting,” says Ben. “Fibre cement also works really well in our climate and, when used well, is really beautiful. A panel product has enabled significant budget savings for the build and also ongoing maintenance, compared with a product like cedar.”


Clean vertical lines meet seamlessly at the edges to amplify the beauty of the home’s simple architectural form. “We needed to get the edge details right – the windows, corners and parapets, while meeting the budget goals and ensuring the construction sequencing was spot on,” Ben adds. “The plan was adjusted to suit panel sizes, so the builder could install the bulk of the panels and then come back and deal with the critical corner and window details later on. They installed the cladding over a few days.”

Cladding prototypes help speed up delivery

The builder made prototypes of the cladding, including the corner junction detail, and built a jig to lift the 3.6m panels up in one piece. Jayson Davidson, director at Jada Homes, explains: “The jig wound the panels up to the exact height to hold each one in place, while we screwed them to the metal battens, then used the James Hardie thermal strip to create a thermal break.”

Aluminium details on the corners provide a sharp, neat finish. “It took a bit longer to get right, but gave us an amazing finished result,” explains Jayson. “We used a 10mm aluminium Y-shaped section and mitred the Axon Cladding edges – the cladding meeting at the Y section, which was then painted black.” Ben set the parapet heights to accommodate full sheets of cladding, ensuring the form maintains its purity and simplicity, with a black flashing to complete the top edge.


Using Axon Cladding architecturally, Ellul Architecture has created an enigmatic design, which opens up to reveal an active and generous courtyard home within which this family can enjoy and grow.



Sandringham House Elevation


Axon™ Cladding and EasyLap™ Panel


Ellul Architecture @ellularchitecture

Jada Homes @jadahomes


Hamish McIntosh @hamishmcintosh

Rory Gardiner @arorygardiner

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