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Maclean building designer Dave ‘DJ’ Brown, with his award-winning home designs. Image: Lynne Mowbray.

Dave’s winning designs

Lynne Mowbray |


Maclean building designer Dave Brown, or ‘DJ’ as he is more commonly known, has just taken out four Building Designers Association of Australia (BDAA) awards.

DJ has been designing for 30 years and although he works predominately around the Clarence Valley, his work also takes him further afield.

His business D J Brown – Building Designer, specialises in both residential and commercial buildings, although DJ said that he prefers residential.

“I was lucky enough to recently pick up a BDAA ‘Regional Chapter Design’ award for a house that I designed, which is located just outside of Maclean, on a rural property,” DJ said.

“There were only four categories in the Chapter Design Awards 2020 and this house took out each one: Best New Residential Buildings 351sqm – 450sqm, Best Residential Interiors, Best Bathroom Design and Best Kitchen Design.

“Following on from the regional awards, the house will now go through to be judged at the national awards.

“I was talking to one of the members of the BDAA and told him that I was designing a ‘Rammed Earth’ house.

“Rammed earth is a material (clay) dug out of the ground and compacted under a high pneumatic compactor. The wall is approximately 300mm thick and extremely energy efficient. The rammed earth also has a good fire rating.

“It gets built or formed up in situ (onsite) – it’s not a cheap alternative, but it’s very effective.

“The walls are placed in strategic places; not all the way around (the home),” he said.


In a design profile describing the home, DJ said that the house design is, ‘a modern take on the mid-century home (as in, Palm Springs with their skillion roofs).

(The building is) A combination of some featured rammed earth walls, Lysaght star cladding and generous amounts of glass to the north and east which makes it a very thermal efficient home to live in.

The skillion roof lines over the pavilion style home allows for a light filled welcoming building.

The open style design with the polished concrete floors allow flow to the outdoor seamlessly through large glass stacker doors and create a luxury holiday retreat feel.

The house was designed to nestle comfortably into its natural environment.


DJ said that he was encouraged to enter the awards after one of the people in the Association found out that he was designing a rammed earth home.

“Because ‘rammed earth’ is not that common and you don’t see it every day, he said, ‘why don’t you enter it into the design awards?

“So, I did, and it won.

“I felt very lucky and privileged to have been involved in it and that I had the opportunity to design something that was a bit different.

“So yeh, I was really humbled to have won it,” he said.