Designer cubby houses to be auctioned at International Flower and Garden Show for Kids Under Cover

Artist's impression of "Glowb" by Playce and Agency of Sculpture.
Artist's impression of "Glowb" by Playce and Agency of Sculpture. Photo: Cubby House Challenge

A cubby house with net hammocks, wacky mirrors, an internal chalk wall and glowing lights may be what many children can only dream of.

But one of five teams of Australian builders and architects are making that dream a reality as they compete for the title of "Australia's Best Cubby" in an annual fundraising challenge.

Another contestant, FMSA Architecture, will create a 3D-printed "kooky cubby" with aromatherapy scented elements, secret openings and hiding nooks.

"Kooky Cubby" by FMSA Architecture and RMIT.
"Kooky Cubby" by FMSA Architecture and RMIT. Photo: Cubby House Challenge

The firm, who teamed up with the Architectural Robotics Lab at RMIT University, had primary school students experience their cool cubby using virtual reality goggles.

The feedback from the children was great and their ideas were being taken on board in the concept and design of the cubby, according to FMSA Architecture's website.

Meanwhile, a dome-shaped cubby "Glowb​", by Playce and Agency of Sculpture, will feature a multilevel interaction space with wacky mirrors, internal chalk wall and net hammocks for playing or star gazing.

The architect-designed cubbies will be displayed, judged and auctioned at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show in March to raise money for youth homelessness charity, Kids Under Cover. The challenge is in its ninth year.

The designs this year considered children's needs at play and creating a fun and interactive space, the charity's chief executive, Jo Swift, said, "but there is a more serious underlying message about needing to provide safe spaces for at-risk young people".

Kids Under Cover has been providing one and two-bedroom self-contained studios for families since 1995 and scholarships for young people.


The tiny homes will be auctioned by five Melbourne real estate agencies, each at a reserve of $6000. Last year the highest selling cubby fetched more than $17,000.

The best designed will be judged by Grand Designs Australia host and architect Peter Maddison, House Rules architect and judge Joe Snell, Domain national managing editor Alice Stolz, interior designer Fiona Lynch and The Design Files editor Lucy Feagins.

Feagins, who starts as a regular Saturday Domain columnist this week, said how children would interact with the space was more important than how it looked aesthetically.

"MySpace" by Grimshaw Architecture and Warrick Home Builders.
"MySpace" by Grimshaw Architecture and Warrick Home Builders.  Photo: Cubby House Challenge

"I will be looking at things like opportunities for play and creative inspiration for young minds," she said. "And I'm a new mum as well, so [I'm] thinking a little bit more about the practical side."

It is hoped a record $150,000 will be raised this year to help keep at-risk young people in contact with their families and networks, Swift said.

The 2017 Cubby House Challenge runs from March 29 to April 2 at the Carlton Gardens and Royal Exhibition Building.

"Rapunzel Tower" by Porter Davis.
"Rapunzel Tower" by Porter Davis.  Photo: Cubby House Challenge

This story first appeared on Domain.