2012 Houses Awards: New House over 200m2

Big Hill (Vic) by Kerstin Thompson Architects

Jury comment

This house is a direct design response to site, form and utility of material, which combine to create a solid, robust shelter against the Southern Ocean’s exposure. Although the approach is from the ocean prospect, arrival and entry is from the north, immediately establishing “house as windbreak.” Disclosure of the view is subverted by the compressed triangular plan, yet the experience is heightened at the place where the prospect is most revered. In the words of the architect, “the right angle triangle is most productively aligned with the forces of the site. The long side of the triangle acts as a retaining wall struck against the slope of the land.”

Inside this house, rooms slide into each other, dissolving the problem of further enclosure. The plan is unrestricted by the triangular geometry of the whole, and a sense of infinite space is achieved. Materials are reduced to a palette of concrete, glass and timber, underpinning the desire for a coastal retreat to be basic and creating an embedded modesty. This house is deceptively simple and its actual quality belies this simplicity, recalling the origins of the shack, creating an authentic, contemporary retreat.

Award for New House over 200m2 supported by Stormtech.


Kerstin Thompson Architects
Melbourne, Vic, Australia
Project Team
Kerstin Thompson, Lynn Chew, Laurance Dragamir, Julian Patterson, Sophie Herel, Michael Artemenko, Gemma Hohnen, Jacqui Alexander
Builder KA and JA Wylie
Building surveyor Brian Sherwell and Associates
Cost planner Construction Planning and Economics
Engineer Tattersall Engineering Consultants
Fire protection Community Safety Services
Land surveyor David McLennan and Associates
Landscape Otways Indigenous Nursery
Structural engineer SEMF Pty Ltd
Site details
Location Great Ocean Road,  Melbourne,  Vic,  Australia
Category Residential buildings
Type Houses, Residential
Project Details
Status Built



Published online: 27 Jul 2012
Words: Houses Awards Jury 2012
Images: Trevor Mein


Houses, August 2012

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