Big Hill by Kerstin Thompson Architects
Residential Architecture – Houses: National Commendation
Australian Institute of Architects
Perched above the Great Ocean Road in coastal Victoria, Big Hill sits firmly within its site. Facing south-east, the house surveys Bass Strait through native landscape, and a curation of vistas is displayed. Arrival through the large north-facing entrance introduces the inhabitant to a series of intimate dwelling experiences. The dark, robust palette of materials heightens one’s sense of containment within the dwelling and focuses the gaze towards the portals for glimpses of the landscape.
The triangulated planning allows for the south-eastern facade to be dedicated to communal living, while the western end of the house provides carefully crafted bedroom and amenity zones. Internally, at ground level, one is aware that the house is providing retainment to the landscape behind. Externally, the house stands singular and commanding in its formal arrangement, assuming the role of a wall.
This house is a reminder of how Victorian beach houses can struggle with the dilemma of facing south. Through the careful articulation of space, Big Hill has successfully defined the interior as borrowed exterior.
Big Hill was also a winner at the 2012 Houses Awards.