Big Hill House :: New Work from Kerstin Thompson Architects

High on a hill,
above the legendary Great Ocean Road,
and overlooking the magnificent Bass Strait,
is a new, very quietly calm house by Kerstin Thompson Architects.

The clients requested a "solid house",
and the building does answer that desire,
with a simple palette of oiled timbers and concrete block walls.

Resisting the temptation to simply sweep the facade with window-walls,
instead the "solid house" feel was enhanced with pocket windows,
carved out of the dense walls,
as if to provide port holes through which to isolate and frame the view.

This is a very ruggedly stunning part of Australia.
Few who visit are not enchanted with its wild beauty.
But the winds can roar,
and the chill can be icy in winter.
A house here needs to be both a gloriously cosy retreat in winter,
but cool in summer.
Concrete floors and blockwork walls achieve both.
They work as a heat bank, with their great thermal masses absorbing
heat from the sun streaming through the windows on winter's days,
releasing it back at night.
And in summer, by absorbing the heat from the room and keeping it cool.
It's a very effective and simple regulator.

Big Hill House plays with light and shadow,
cool grey concrete and warm timbers;
to produce a home which reflects & echoes its surrounds. 
The building is not fussy - instead it is intimate,
with the same wild untamed beauty as the ocean outside.
It's the kind of beauty 
which is not necessarily revealed by the camera lens,
but one which is almost more emotional,
needing to be experienced in real life. 
Just the kind of space where one feels safe and quiet,
without especially needing to analyse why.