2019 National Architecture Awards: National Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New)

Jury citation

House in the Hills initially presents as an abstract intervention in the rural Victorian landscape, challenging our perception of rural domesticity. A hovering parasol, inspired by steel-framed hay sheds, performs as place-maker, defining the habitation precinct within the rolling twenty-five-hectare site. Restrained and expansive, it establishes a datum line within the landscape, emphasizing changes in the topography.

Beneath this parasol, a new landscape is established, with two pavilions and the reshaped ground plane surrounding an inner courtyard. Above, the parasol’s operable louvres permit varying degrees of light and shade, depending on the time of year and day, and protect the house from pummelling south-westerly winds.

In contrast to the unashamedly rigorous metallic exterior, the house’s plywood interior is warm and inviting. Inside, the vast landscape views and broad extent of the parasol enlarge the perception of the modestly scaled rooms.

House in the Hills’ evocative silhouette is precise and immaculately detailed. This is an ambitious family home on a beautiful yet unrelenting site.

House in the Hills is located in Barrabool, Victoria and is built on the land of the Wathaurong people.


Sean Godsell Architects
Melbourne, Vic, Australia
Project Team
Sean Godsell (project director), Hayley Franklin (project architect)
Builder Poulsen Builders
Building surveyor Nelson McDermott
ESD consultant Greensphere Consulting
Engineer Perrett Simpson
Landscape consultant Eckersley Garden Architecture
Quantity surveyor Plan Cost Australia
Site Details
Location Surf Coast,  Vic,  Australia
Project Details
Status Built
Category Residential
Type New houses



Published online: 7 Nov 2019
Words: 2019 National Awards Jury
Images: Earl Carter


Architecture Australia, November 2019

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