BYRON architects Sarah Aldridge and Jason Trisley's design of a Possum Creek house has won them the top gong in the NSW Country Division awards by the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA).
The institute annually awards projects across NSW outside Sydney and Newcastle - and the Byron couple topped the poll for new house design.
Another Byron practice, Ocean Arc, won a commendation for alterations and additions to a Tallow Beach residence.
Mark Smith of Running Dog Design was a nominee in the Affordable Housing category.
Mr Trisley and Ms Aldridge are co-directors in the Space Studio practice.
Mr Trisley said he was enthusiastic about the quality of much of the residential design in Byron shire, and its residents' sophistication and openness to new ideas.
The ability to stretch out in the landscape and fully embrace the environment were other drawcards to living in a region such as this, he said.
The Possum Creek project - a new home for a couple from Mornington Peninsula - gave them enough space to get the orientation exactly right, he said, including a long plane of the house on the north-facing side, allowing in light and warmth, and with 13m of wall space opening up to the outdoors.
The judges said the house had "a bespoke expression of beauty that simply invites a relaxed but stimulating habitation with the definition of inside and outside spaces blurred, contrasting with the clear definition of public and private spaces".
"The clients love the house and that, for us, is the true test of a design and is always our ultimate goal on any project," Mr Trisley said.
The award comes a year after Space Studio won the non-residential award for the Byron Community Primary School.
"Local can be good and good regional design receives recognition," Mr Trisley said.
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