2019 National Architecture Awards: National Award for Commercial Architecture

Private Women’s Club by Kerstin Thompson Architects.

Jury citation

Kerstin Thompson Architects’ confident addition to the premises of this longstanding institution on a narrow laneway in the heart of Melbourne demonstrates a deep understanding of a complex client. The project – a new level consisting of a garden room – is testament to the agency of architecture in the evolution of our cultural organizations and supports a sustainable business model.

Discreet works to upgrade existing spaces for compliance and services are handled with a light touch that retains their essential character, which is highly valued by many of the club’s older members. The new level offers a different spatial experience, reinvigorating the club by helping to attract new and younger members, and providing revenue through its 150-person function capacity.

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The design responds beautifully to specific contextual drivers – the established landscape in the neighbouring club’s garden and the architectural cadence of the existing modernist building. Opening completely to the adjacent tree canopies, the design establishes a rhythm of deep glulam timber beams. Combined with top light and finely detailed window screens, this gives a sense of being within a conservatory – and almost within the garden itself. It also establishes a dialogue with the existing building.

The tiled floor is both bold and mute, and the walls are dark and shadowy, softening the ample natural light and attenuating the room’s acoustics. This is a memorable architecture with intelligent spatial planning that will support the club well into the future.

Private Women’s Club is located in Melbourne, Victoria, and built on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation.


Kerstin Thompson Architects
Melbourne, Vic, Australia
Project Team
Kerstin Thompson, Claire Humphreys, Lynn Chew, Scott Diener, Ben Pakulsky
Builder McCorkell Constructions
Building surveyor du Chateau Chun
Kitchen consultant Chris Love Design
Quantity surveyor Plancost
Services engineer WSP
Town planner Contour Consultants Australia
Site details
Category Commercial / public buildings
Type Commercial
Project Details
Status Built
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