Butterfly House | Young House

536 Churchill Avenue, Lower Sandy Bay


Architect: Esmond Dorney (1958), Circa Morris-Nunn Chua and Associates (1999 and 2008)

Admired for its innovative and authentic contribution to international design, the powerful arching form of this Dorney house is responsive to its site and panoramic outlook. The predominantly glass walls are lightly framed in tubular steel with integral diagonal bracing. The interior living spaces offer arresting views of mountain, sky and river, yet remain surprisingly private from the street thanks to the wide deck that extends over the carport and workshop below.

Designed in 1958 and initially nicknamed the ‘Sputnik House’ after the world’s first satellite, Young House is now popularly dubbed the ‘Butterfly House’. It is one of Esmond Dorney’s most recognised Hobart houses and has featured in various design shows, dramas and magazines.

Originally built for a single woman, Young House was a relatively compact two-bedroom residence when purchased by its current owners. They commissioned Morris-Nunn and Associates to design an extension in 1999. Taking the form of a new pavillion in the backyard, the project won the RAIA Tasmanian Chapter Heritage award in 2001. The firm (now Circa Morris-Nunn Chua) added an extra bedroom and a lap-pool to the design in 2008.

Carefully restored and fitted out with an eye to mid-century modern style, Young House, like the Tate House in Taroona, showcases Esmond Dorney’s exceptional capacity to create buildings that expand and enhance the lives lived within them.

Tours: Sunday 13 November, 10 am, 10.30 am, 11 am, 11.30 am, 12 pm, 12.30 pm and 1 pm

Duration: 20 minutes


Sandy Bay

Building Type


Architectural Period

Mid-Twentieth Century (1940-1960)


Architectural Design


New to Program


Level Changes

Stair Access Only

Uneven Surfaces

Paddy Dorney

Paddy Dorney is a retired member of the governing Council and the Senate of the University of Tasmania. He has taught architecture at UTAS School of Architecture and was the Student President of the University for some years. He has worked in concert with the Australian Institute of Architects to present the very exciting and successful Open House Program from its origin, ten years ago. Read more

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