Join the KTA team

KTA is looking for a Senior Project Architect to join our practice and lead the design and delivery of a $10m cultural project located in Melbourne. KTA offers a supportive and flexible workplace focused on the pursuit of architecture as a civic endeavour; buildings that forge connections with their surroundings and the people who inhabit them.

Ideal candidates will have experience delivering exceptional public & commercial projects, along with:
—Proven leadership skills and the ability to coordinate complex project teams
—Excellent communication skills and ability to present design options
—Experience in considering alternative detailing solutions
—Experience in documenting for various procurement methods – D&C, lump sum
—Working understanding of construction sequencing
—Strong understanding of architectural materials, products & systems
—Post-registration experience of 5+ years
—Experience in Revit preferred, with training available for the right candidate.

Please send your CV and folio to:

Balfe Park Lane multi-residential housing in Brunswick East

“The design of Balfe Park Lane as an ensemble of buildings of varying shape and orientation rather than a large, single building means that there is a stronger sense of neighbourhood and an individual address within a broader social context.” — Kerstin Thompson comments on KTA’s Balfe Park Lane multi-residential housing project in Brunswick East.

Read more on and ArchitectureAU.

New space for private club in Melbourne

Atop its modernist base, this new garden room for a private club in Melbourne borrows the established landscape across the lane.

Spotted gum glue-lam beams extend the interior outside and add a further tectonic layer to the original building by Ellison Harvie.

Photo by Derek Swalwell.


Wed 10 Oct 6.15pm—Principal Kerstin Thompson talks to MPavilion 2018 architect Carme Pinós of Barcelona’s Estudio Carme Pinós. The conversation will traverse modes and models of practice, connections between practice and the academy, and the impacts of architecture and urban design on equity in the public realm. The talk is hosted by Parlour at MPavilion.

More details via MPavilion.

Image credit: MPavilion.

Think Brick Horbury Hunt Residential Award for Apartment House

Apartment House recently received the 2018 Think Brick Horbury Hunt Residential Award.

Glass inserts within the front facade filter the western sun yielding a dazzling, aqueous play of light which enlivens the firmness of the rectilinear geometry found in the plan and section.

Thank you Think Brick Australia, ATMA Builders & Trevor Mein Photography.

Government funding for KTA’s gallery expansion to Arthur Boyd’s Riversdale property

We’re pleased to announce the first stage of KTA’s Masterplan for the expansion of Bundanon Trust’s Riversdale site has received $8.592M in funding from the NSW state government towards the Arthur Boyd Gallery & Collection Store.

This subterranean space for the gallery & store will be the first of a two-part design, the other being a 140-metre-long bridge-like structure to house a creative learning centre, visitor hub & 32-room accommodation facility.

Read more about the project at Architecture AU , ABC & Sydney Morning Herald.

SCCI Architecture Festival

The Sherman Centre for Contemporary Ideas (SCCI) in Sydney has announced the line-up of architects, artists and thinkers that will present at its inaugural, 10-day festival of architecture-related workshops, talks and film screenings in October.

KTA Principal Kerstin Thompson is speaking as part of the festival lecture series, Words that made me: Architects on reading.

Kerstin, alongside other leading architects, Peter Tonkin (Tonkin Zulaikha Greer) & Peter Lonergan (Cracknell & Lonergan Architects) will discuss the books and writings that have formed them as people, and shaped their sensibility as thinkers and practitioners of design, from textbooks to literature and digital sources. Their conversation will form self-portraits in words and a reading guide for the audience.

The festival runs 12-21 October 2018. Bookings are available here.

Visit MUMA at 2018 Open House Melbourne

MUMA is open for 2018 Open House Melbourne Sat 28 July 10am-4pm! Principal, Kerstin Thompson and Landscape Architect Simon Ellis will lead tours of the Museum and adjoining Ian Potter Sculpture Court, in collaboration with Monash University Museum of Art. Photography by Trevor Mein.

2018 AIA Victorian Architecture Awards – Park House

Park House received a Residential New Architecture Award from the AIA Victorian Chapter. “The design manages a significant brief with great acumen and rewards the inhabitants with moments of heightened spatial experience and a sense of intimacy” – Residential New Architecture Awards Jury 2018

Thank you to our clients and legendary ATMA Builders.

Image by Trevor Mein.

2018 AIA Victorian Architecture Awards – The Stables VCA Faculty of Fine Arts & Music The University of Melbourne

The Stables VCA Faculty of Fine Arts & Music The University of Melbourne received a Heritage & Educational Architecture Award from the AIA Victorian Chapter, as well as a commendation for Interior Architecture. “KTA’s interventions – sophisticated and executed with quiet confidence – present a thoughtful and balanced approach to heritage. Treating old and new with equality, the VCA former Mounted police Stables both preserves important Melbourne heritage, and embeds contemporary construction within the historic fabric of the future.” – Heritage Architecture Jury 2018

Thank you to VCA The University of Melbourne and Kane Constructions for being outstanding collaborators.

Image by John Gollings.

Shortlist – AIA 2018 Victorian Architecture Awards

Our Park House project (pictured) has been shortlisted in the AIA 2018 Victorian Architecture Awards for Residential (New) Architecture, along with The Stables, VCA Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, The University of Melbourne for Heritage, Educational and Interior Architecture. Looking forward to attending the awards presentations later this month.

Image by Trevor Mein.

Horse & Art together at last

Bob and Unity briefly returned to their former home last week (now home to the VCA’s School of Art). Their Riders gave The Stables rework a thumbs up appreciating that the entwined history of horse and police on the Southbank site hasn’t been lost in the transformation by KTA

Principal Kerstin Thompson provides a guided tour of The Stables via The University of Melbourne.

What's next for the Melbourne Arts Precinct?

Debbie Cuthbertson talks about the Melbourne Arts Precinct, its history and potential for future development. KTA provides some food for thought.

Read the full piece here, recently published in The Age.

Image, Testing Grounds via The Age.

Sunda_ opens in Punch Lane

Sunda_ in Punch Lane now open! Definitely worth sampling the amazing flavours & textures of Khanh Nguyen’s South East Asian cuisine. Lovely write up in Broadsheet.

Thanks to our excellent collaborators Figureground Architecture and Halim Group.

Image by Jake Roden c/o Broadsheet.

'Meet the women architects who are transforming the shape of our cities'

Published in SMH over the weekend – ‘Meet the women architects who are transforming the shape of our cities’. Comment from local architects including Kerstin Thompson (KTA Principal), Clare Cousins & Hannah Tribe.

Leading overseas architects also featured – Stephanie Macdonald of London-based 6a Architects, Carme Pinos from Estudio Carme Pinos in Barcelona and Sofia von Ellrichshausen of Chilean practice Pezo Von Ellrichshausen.

Image: KTA’s Country Villa House, photo by Derek Swalwell.

That's a wrap!

Another successful season of Archisoccer is through… See you on the field again soon.

VCA School of Art Former Mounted Police Stables, now complete!

The Former Mounted Police Stables and Former Riding School have been transformed by KTA to become VCA’s School of Art. The adaptive re-use of this major piece of Melbourne’s civic infrastructure demonstrates how the combination of radical interventions and careful conservation can yield new life from past forms to play a vital role in the future of our city.

We’ve enjoyed working with The University of Melbourne and are very proud of what the project has achieved. The faculty is now moving into the building and studio spaces ahead of the official project launch, happening soon!

Photo by Trevor Mein.

Kerstin Thompson profile published in Domain

KTA principal Kerstin Thompson talks about Melbourne design, her career in architecture and KTA’s practice, “I believe our best work is ahead of us”.

Read the full article recently published in Domain here.

Photographs of Kerstin taken at KTA’s VCA Former Mounted Police Stables for The University of Melbourne.

Good Design + Heritage issue 07

KTA’s Studio 9 Wertheim Factory conversion features in the latest edition of OVGA’s Good Design + Heritage.

The publication is the seventh in a series that is helping raise awareness of good design and promote discussion about its benefits and value. The publication has been developed together with Heritage Victoria and the Heritage Council of Victoria.

Read the full feature here.

Photography of the building by Derek Swalwell.

Suburban civic – Broadmeadows Town Hall

A beauty from the superb suite of photos by John Gollings commissioned by Hume City Council to record Broadmeadows Town Hall as it is today.

Construction has now started towards the revitalisation of this suburban civic gem – a key piece in Hume Central due for completion early 2019.

MPavilion talk hosted by OVGA ‘Is Good Design Measurable?’

View from the panel at OVGA’s recent MPavilion discussion.

Leading the conversation was Victorian Government Architect Jill Garner and Andrew Mackenzie from City Lab. The event brought together design experts from a range of professional backgrounds to explore the value of good design, weighing in on its measurability in creating sustainable, inclusive and engaging environments.

KTA Principal, Kerstin Thompson joined Richard Leonard (Hayball) on the panel, applying this theme to education projects.

Over 200 people attended the fast-paced talk which covered themes of health, education, public space, transport and neighbourhoods.

An audio recording will be available shortly via MPavilion.

KTA Principal Kerstin Thompson elevated to AIA Life Fellow

Congratulations to KTA Principal, Kerstin Thompson who was recently elevated to Life Fellow by the Australian Institute of Architects’ National Council.

This achievement honours Kerstin’s outstanding contribution to the advancement of the profession though active involvement within the institute, education and literature and public service.

Kerstin was the creative director for both the institute’s 2005 National Conference and the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale. She is currently an Adjunct Professor in Architecture at RMIT and Monash Universities and a Professor of Design in Architecture at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.

Since founding KTA in 1994, she’s been dedicated to promoting quality design through the work of the practice, and within the wider community through her roles as Panel member on the Office of the Victorian Design Review Panel and Board Member for the Melbourne Housing Expo.

Twenty-one Australian Architects Breaking New Ground

We’ve just received our copy of Twenty-one Australian Architects Breaking New Ground, a new Belle publication that features KTA. Edited by Karen McCartney, the book presents examples of work from established local designers, providing an insight to the philosophy and ideas behind their practice.

Available to purchase, end of this month!

Builder appointed for Broadmeadows Town Hall

We’re pleased to announce Building Engineering as the engaged builder for our redevelopment of Broadmeadows Town Hall – a distinctive and culturally significant 1960s building.

Our design for the project retains the strengths and clarity of this building – particularly its scale, symmetry, civic grandeur and ceremonial organisation.

Construction will begin in the coming week.

East and West wings of Sacred Heart are finally bridged!

Exciting to see our redevelopment of Sacred Heart coming along at Abbotsford Convent.

“The project represents an opportunity to rethink and re-imagine a site with a rich history and a vibrant present-day life as a cultural and artistic precinct.” —Kerstin Thompson.

Exciting project with GPT Group & Armitage Jones

Following our competition-winning design, KTA has been engaged to work with GPT Group and Armitage Jones on an exciting project that will completely re-position 100 Queen Street (Former Stock Exchange) in Melbourne, and the associated heritage buildings. We look forward to sharing more as the project unfolds.

Image: William Pitt’s magnificent vaulted ceiling of the Former Stock Exchange building.

Site visit to Albury!

The build is well underway for our residential project in Albury.

A house for all seasons and moods – the design composes two terraces that adjust the interior to the slope of the land.

The internal configuration between private and residual areas provides contrasting qualities of space: intimate rooms are defined by concrete blockwork sections, with larger opaque walls arranged around and between, attributing to a greater sense of openness, breeze and transparency.

In-keeping with modest and rural sensibility, the material palette is robust and direct – concrete slab, Besser block and timber highlights.

Guerilla Bay – design competition winner

KTA has been commissioned to design a new home at Guerilla Bay, NSW after a limited design competition. Our concept responds to the topography of the site, its immediacy to the coast and potential impacts of sea level rise and planning setbacks to the nature reserve.

The design encompasses a loose ensemble of two pavilions arranged within the site’s existing clearings to accommodate the clusters of surrounding trees. Both pavilions are distinct in scale and launch seawards from the higher portion of the site, capturing views of the coast and adjacent trees. The concept seeks to integrate the home and landscape – connecting the interior to the outdoors and allowing for climatic and seasonal variation.

Concept sketch by KTA.

2017 AIA National Architecture Awards shortlist

Our TarraWarra Cellar Door project has been shortlisted in the 2017 AIA National Architecture Awards for commercial architecture.

Congratulations to all nominated teams, you can view the full shortlist here. Winners will be announced early November in Canberra.

Photography by Derek Swalwell.

Architects to take grassland to Australian Pavilion for 2018 Venice Biennale

Congratulations to Mauro Baracco and Louise Wright of Baracco + Wright Architects and Artist Linda Tegg, who have recently been announced Creative Directors for the 16th International Architecture Biennale in Venice 2018.

A recent AFR piece by Michael Bleby highlights KTA’s Riversdale design as work that reflects next year’s Biennale theme ‘Repair’ – encouraging designers and the construction industry to work more sustainably and think differently about land use.

“There is definitely value in working with the natural environment rather than against it.”
—Louise Wright of B+W Architects

Image render by KTA.

2017 IDEA Shortlist

Deakin University A+B/ School of Architecture and Built Environment has been shortlisted in the 2017 IDEA Interior Design Excellence Awards for institutional work.

Facilitating the school’s shift towards a more integrated arrangement of academic, teaching and research spaces, the design transitions students and teachers to an agile work environment. Acknowledging the historic fabric of the wool store and work of previous architecture practice McGlashan Everist, the adaptive reuse of existing conditions has been achieved through a process of edits.

View all shortlisted projects here. Winners announced at 2017 IDEA Gala Party in November.

Image by Paul Katsieris.

Work in progress at The Lyceum Club

A snapshot of Melbourne’s Lyceum Club – now midway through construction!

KTA’s design approach seeks to preserve the club’s spirit in nurturing a convivial atmosphere that encourages & accommodates for greater engagement among current members & future generations of women.

Things are coming along!

An exciting update from our project underway at Victorian College of the Arts – a conversion of the former Mounted Police Stables into a range of flexible teaching, learning, performance & exhibition spaces.

Image taken on-site at today’s School of Art staff walkaround. Be sure to follow the progress leading to anticipated completion early next year.

2017 Fast Forward talk series – University of Auckland (School of Architecture and Planning)

KTA Principal Kerstin recently took part in Auckland University’s (School of Architecture and Planning) twice-annual Fast Forward talk series – presenting recent KTA projects that focus on various approaches to landscape in the making of place.

Burden of Landscape: Regardless of where one sits on Australia’s architectural spectrum there is nevertheless a shared compulsion to respond to a selected notion of landscape. Whether the preferred reference point is the romance of untouched bush, the suburban vernacular or indigenous ‘country’ (to name but a few), many of us explain our work in terms of its resistance to or embracing of a select understanding of landscape.

Image: Warrandyte Police Station

2017 Victorian Architecture Awards

We are very pleased to announce two KTA projects have been recognised for Architecture Awards – TarraWarra Cellar Door for commercial architecture and Seaberg for residential architecture (new).

Thompson’s cellar door deliberately retreats from the public building profile and vast manicured landscape to orchestrate visitor control in a highly detailed sunken space where light and materiality provide a luscious interior.”—Commercial Architecture Award Jury

Pictured is our Seaberg project, a nurturing yet robust house that presents an alternative model within this much-loved typology.

Congratulations to all 2017 Victorian Architecture Award winners. We look forward to the National Awards in November!

'Crossing the Floor' by Robbie Rowlands at Broadmeadows Town Hall

A take from Robbie Rowlands’ exhibition launch, as part of our Broadmeadows Town Hall redevelopment. The three-day exhibition, titled ‘Crossing the Floor’, featured site-specific video and sound works developed through the research period, and a delicately cut section of the supper room floor revealing the subsurface of the hall’s fifty-year history.

We look forward to sharing more on BTH as the project begins to take shape in the coming months.

Design revealed for Arthur Boyd’s Riversdale property

The Bundanon Trust has revealed KTA’s vision for the expansion of Arthur Boyd’s Riversdale property – a project we’re very excited to be part of.

The two-part design consists of a subterranean space for a 380 sqm gallery and a 140-metre-long bridge-like structure that will house a creative learning centre, a visitor hub and a 32-room accommodation facility. Read more about the site and planned design at Architecture AU, Financial Review and Green Magazine.

Sandcastles 01

“On the coast where the wild forces of nature sculpt and erode, time is the great architect.” So begins Sandcastles: Australia’s Greatest Coastal Homes, based on the TV series by Peter Colquhoun, which features among its chapters KTA’s House at Big Hill along with projects by Peter Stutchbury and Fergus Scott, Harry Seidler and Associates, Jackson Clements Burrows and Neeson Murcutt Architects. It’ll have you longing for the smell of salt air and the sound of crashing waves before the turn of its first page.

Saving Melbourne's Skyline

Can starchitects save Melbourne’s skyline? Ray Edgar speaks to the people reshaping Melbourne at both street level and sky high, including Kerstin Thompson, in this piece for Fairfax Media which also explores broader questions about CBD development. Where in the city do we fail and what do we do well? What are the lost opportunities and where could we do better? And most importantly, how do we achieve it?

Things of Stone and Wood

“Our practice has always been interested in the intersection between the built and natural forms, and seeing how light can be expressed, even when you’re designing for something that’s below ground.” In this feature for Fairfax Media’s Commercial Real Estate Kerstin speaks to Stephen Crafti about KTA’s design for TarraWarra Cellar Door.

Life's a party

Well not always, but these recent pix from TarraWarra Cellar Door have us wishing we had our dancing shoes on.

Parlour and Women in Architecture

If you haven’t heard of Parlour yet, here’s a terrific piece on the work they do and why it’s so important to women in architecture and architecture as a whole.

Designing Regional Galleries

In The Age’s Saturday Spectrum section, design writer Ray Edgar speaks to leading Melbourne architects, including Kerstin Thompson, about “threshold fear” and the special and particular considerations that influence the design of regional galleries. KTA is currently working on the Business Case and Design for Castlemaine Art Museum and a gallery and broader facilities for Arthur Boyd’s Riversdale Estate in Shoalhaven. We’re also one of five firms shortlisted for the Shepparton Art Museum Design Competition (SAM), the winner of which will be announced next month. Read more here

Chasing the Sky

And here you have it, after many months of editing and careful compilation, Maven’s second instalment in the Twenty Stories series has arrived. Aptly titled Chasing the Sky, its chapters provide insights into the minds, philosophies and projects of some of the countries most innovative design thinkers, who also just happen to be women. They include Abbie Galvin, Annabel Lahz, Debbie Ryan and KTA’s Kerstin Thompson. Buy your copy here


Do less, achieve more. So writes Marcus Baumgart in Issue 58 of Artichoke in his feature on TarraWarra Cellar Door and interview with Kerstin about the project. Have a look-see.

Beside the seaside

Perfect beach weather, isn’t it? Here’s an image from our recently completed project on the Mornington Peninsula. Seaberg restores something of the ease of flow and material lightness long associated with, but now somehow lost from, the Australian beach house. Using living areas and the main bedroom suite as household core, and an extra couple of outhouses, freestanding but just touching by virtue of the pergolas, the ensemble hangs together in a loose arrangement to accommodate the many combinations of family life. Modest in scale and rectilinear in form the house recalls the kinds of smaller seaside dwellings that were once common to this part of Victoria’s coastline. Here’s to the return of the beach house that actually feels like one.


In the summer 2017 edition of architectVICTORIA, Kerstin explores through a series of KTA projects ways of thinking about landscape through the various lenses of context, spatial continuum, territory and ecology. Far from being simply a garden or a background to the main event (that being architecture), landscape can and should be a critical reference point for the beginning of any design. In doing so, the best architecture draws on local conditions to amplify and enhance one’s experience and enjoyment of place.

Napier Street Housing

Since its completion in 2001, KTA’s Napier Street Housing has been widely recognized as an exemplar in urban design, first by the Victorian Government and more recently by South Australia’s Office for Design and Architecture. The latter have included it in their Residential Design Guidelines to demonstrate principles of good design and support better outcomes in higher density development in metropolitan Adelaide. The project also features in Among Buildings, a new publication from Uro, which features poetry by Michael Roper and design by Stuart Geddes.

Site visit

As you can see, construction is well underway at the Victorian College of the Arts where the Former Mounted Police Stables are being converted into the campus’ new School of Art. Once complete, the school will provide a range of flexible teaching, learning, performance and exhibition spaces for students and teachers while also preserving the cultural heritage of a building that holds fond memories for many a horse-loving Melburnian.

SAM (Shepparton Art Museum)

An iconic landmark that draws visitors from afar or a welcoming space for the community it represents: what will the new SAM be? We’ll find out on April 27 when the winner of the Shepparton Art Museum Design Competition will be announced. In the meantime, the entries of five shortlisted firms including Denton Corker Marshall, John Wardle Architects, KTA, Lyons and MvS Architects are on public display with council seeking public feedback before February 5. Read more about the designs in ArchitectureAU.

Living in the Landscape

“As urban life becomes increasingly more demanding, many people are choosing to build away from the city in a way that acknowledges and connects with the landscape.” So begins Anna Johnson and Richard Black’s Living in the Landscape which through 28 Australian and New Zealand houses located in remarkable locations explores novel relationships between landscape and design. Look out for KTA’s House at Hanging Rock, evocatively photographed by Sharyn Cairns, on page 242.

The Place Economy

KTA features in this new book by Melbourne-based branding agency Hoyne, subtitled “The real world social and economic benefits of effective placemaking”. Bringing together leading thinkers and practitioners in the fields of architecture, urban planning, health, sustainability and philosophy, its interviews, articles and case studies argue that investment in better placemaking can lead not only to happier and healthier communities but also better performing economies. Each book costs $200, with proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity, a not-for-profit organization that provides affordable housing for families in need.

Riversdale Design Competition winner

In exciting news this week, KTA has been announced as the winner of the Riversdale Design Competition. The prize? To design the $28.5-million expansion of Arthur Boyd’s Riversdale property in the Shoalhaven region of New South Wales. Home to a collection of historic buildings as well as the Arthur and Yvonne Boyd Education Centre designed in 1999 by Glenn Murcutt, Wendy Lewin and Reg Lark, the expansion will include a new accommodation wing, creative learning centre, visitor hub and a new gallery that will house more than 3,800 items by Arthur Boyd and other Australian artists including Sidney Nolan, Charles Blackman, Brett Whiteley and John Perceval.

Make yourself at home

We often talk about KTA projects having a close connection to their local environment but our current residential project in Apollo Bay takes that philosophy one extra step. The builders found this little guy on site this week, just checking out the new neighbors and their digs. Always pays to be curious.

2016 Eat Drink & IDEA Design Awards

TarraWarra Cellar Door has been highly commended in both the 2016 Eat Drink Design Awards in the category of Best Retail Design and the 2016 IDEAA awards in the category of Hospitality. Read more about the project in the Australian Financial Review.

The Red and Black Architect

Michael Smith and Sonia Sarangi of The Red and Black Architect sit down for an in-depth conversation with Kerstin to discuss the built environment, form making and the relentless negotiation required to create excellent architecture.
The second part of the interview is published here.

Virtual tour of Deakin A+B

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so how to calculate the value of a 3D fly-through? Do the sums while you take a virtual tour of KTA’s recently completely project for the Deakin School of Architecture and the Built Environment/A+B here. Look out for the views from the staff terrace which take in the picturesque setting of the Geelong waterfront.

Wearing the city

KTA’s Fitzroy Sheetmetal Factory is one of seven Melbourne homes to feature in Wearing the City, the annual design studio in which Monash University Art Design and Architecture (MADA) students create costumes inspired by iconic architecture. This year students took their cues from the shapes, forms and structures of Gottlieb House (Wood Marsh), Lyon Housemuseum, Robin Boyd’s Walsh Street, Roy Grounds’ Hill Street House, Peter McIntyre’s River House and Cassandra Fahey Smith’s Great Aussie Home. A catwalk contest will be held at MPavilion on November 12, with judges including Callum Morton, Naomi Milgrom and Martin Foley. Read about the event in ArchitectureAu.

Competition shortlist

It’s been an exciting week at KTA with the practice being shortlisted for two prestigious competitions. The first is the Riversdale Design Competition for a series of new buildings at the NSW property, Riversdale, gifted to the Australian people by the late artist Arthur Boyd in 1993. Managed by the Bundanon Trust, Riversdale is one of four sites on a 1100-hectare property captured by Boyd in his celebrated Shoalhaven series. Six practices from around Australia were invited to participate with the winner being announced in December.
The shortlist for Shepparton Art Museum, best known as SAM, has also been announced with five firms, including KTA, being selected from 88 entries for the second stage of the competition. Designs from each firm will be exhibited in January with the winner announced in April.

Parlour Spring Salon

The Parlour Spring Salons got off to a great start on Saturday with KTA’s Kerstin Thompson and Clare Cousins in conversation about the challenges – and advantages – of setting up and leading your own practice, lessons learned, and their shared areas of interest and commitment. Find out more about the series on the Parlour website.
Image: Dianna Snape.

TarraWarra Cellar Door

KTA’s TarraWarra Cellar Door has won itself some international fans following recent coverage in Dezeen, Divisare and Homes, with features also soon to appear in Ignant and Inhabitat.

Parlour at MPavilion

The first of Parlour’s seasonal salons kicks off next week with a conversation between KTA’s Kerstin Thompson and Clare Cousins of Clare Cousins Architects. Supported by Parlour partner AWS, the salons offer an opportunity for “the women of Melbourne architecture to meet, form new networks and relationships”. A glass of wine, a chance for some friendly and robust discussion, and a terrific excuse to check MPavilion 2016, designed by Studio Mumbai’s Bijoy Jain.
When? 4.30pm, Saturday 15 October, Queen Victoria Gardens (opposite the Arts Centre on St Kilda Road), Melbourne. More details here and here.

RMIT Practice Research Symposium 2016

Architecture comes about through the highly contextualized interplay of multiple obligations. What do we do with these obligations when, as frequently happens, they come into conflict? This is where ethics come into play. As part of this year’s RMIT Practice Research Symposium, Kerstin will present a lecture on the ethics of architecture, a topic she first visited as part of the Robin Boyd ethics series in August. Using KTA projects as case studies, she’ll explore how we can both meet and work productively with our multiple obligations towards an ethics of practice. RMIT Design Hub, October 21 @ 6pm.
Image: Mark Roper/Belle


Divisare is the Italian word for designing, planning; literally it means “to devise”. The term was used by Leon Battista Alberti to define the work of the architect. It’s also the title of an online publication founded in 1998. Curated by a team of Italian architects, it describes itself as the Web Atlas for Contemporary Architecture. Last week, the site published an essay on KTA’s award-winning House at Hanging Rock with a series of evocative and very beautiful images by renown photographer Erieta Attali.
Find it here.

Apollo Bay

A roof or wall building? Definitely roof, a big one – that being a definitive feature of this current KTA project along the Great Ocean Road. Following a “zipper plan”, the dwelling unfurls in a series of rooms off a central spine that runs clear through the building towards the ocean. The floor terraces down the hill whilst the roof gently slopes down such that the lower ceilings at the top of the hill open to larger volumes for living areas and the main bedroom at the lower ocean end. Expansive ocean views are captured in one direction; glimpses of trees and rolling pastures are framed in the other. The design employs a minimalist material palette of concrete blockwork, concrete floor and cement sheeting. Slender steel columns pin the large overhanging roof to the ground. At the dwelling’s heart is a protected courtyard; a retreat in harsh weather and high winds.

Prototyping for Architects

The ways in which architects are combining new digital design and fabrication technologies with traditional hands-on building techniques to test their projects from structural, aesthetic, and technical standpoints forms the focus of this new book by Jane and Mark Burry. Presenting an extensive range of prototyping techniques, it also features a selection of 30 projects by leading contemporary international architects including KTA. Find out more here

Architectural Review

The latest edition of Architectural Review has a new look and a new focus: the Business of Architecture. Among its features is a Brains Trust column that poses the same question to a panel of industry experts. The question for this issue, put to Debbie Ryan of McBride Charles Ryan, Simon Trude of Gensler, Simon Knott of BKK and KTA’s Kerstin Thompson is: Architecture has long been a male dominated industry. Why do you think this is and is it changing? Find yourself a copy and have a read.

Broadmeadows Town Hall

Here’s a sneak peek of our Broadmeadows Town Hall redevelopment. It’s coming along well, don’t you think?


Kerstin speaks to Amelia Melbourne-Hayward at ArchitectureNow about how her early experiences of the built environment inspire the work KTA does today. Also the role of architecture as a civic endeavor that forges meaningful connections between buildings, the people who inhabit them and the community and environments that surround them. Full article here

Architect Victoria Winter 2016

In recent weeks we’ve been approached by a number of clients looking to rebuild holiday homes in Wye River in the aftermath of the Christmas 2015 bushfires. Aside from referring to our own projects, it’s been great to show people the most recent edition of Architect Victoria and its feature on 6X6. Supported by the Office of the Victorian Government Architect, the exhibition featured 6 architects presenting on recent residential projects in bushfire prone areas. Director of Projects Kelley Mackay spoke on House at Big Hill, a bespoke home that embraces and exploits elements of design and finish that work with the BAL ratings rather than seeing them as added extras. Read more here

Where are the women architects?

Picture this: a woman suspended on a swinging beam, nine storeys up, being interviewed about being an architect. The year is 1911 and the woman Fay Kellogg, a trailblazer keen to impress upon both her peers and the public that women are capable of far more than “building closets”. Reconcile that gesture with this fact: In 2015, when Britain’s Architecture Journal asked its readers whether they would encourage a woman to enter the profession only half said yes. Read Kerstin’s full review of Despina Stratigakos’ new book, published in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald last week, here and also in Parlour here.

The Australian

In the latest edition of The Australian’s WISH magazine, Milanda Rout asks Australia’s top architects including Penelope Seidler, Nick Tobias, Camilla Block, Peter Stutchbury, Kerstin Thompson and John Wardle to name their favorite examples of design across the world in three categories: historical, contemporary and off the beaten track. Kerstin’s favorites include Hotel Therme Vals, Switzerland and the Lurujarri Heritage Trail in the Kimberley, Western Australia. Read more here.


TarraWarra Cellar door has been shortlisted for both the Eat Drink Design Awards and the IDEA Interior Design Excellence Awards. Combining an Australian landscape setting with the subterranean intimacy and the delight of a European wine cellar, the project’s brief was to invite visitors into the winemaking process. This is achieved through a series of framed viewlines within the building: to a heritage block of Pinot Noir vines, to a wine production apron, to the barrels and to shelves housing vintages from the winery’s first harvest. Together these glimpses compose a cycle of wine production from grape to glass.

AIA Flexible Spaces

This week Kerstin presented at the Australian Institute of Architects event, Flexible Spaces. Questions underpinning talks and discussion included: How are buildings and spaces created to be changed or adapted? How are public spaces designed to promote movement and why does it matter? Speakers were invited to explore buildings and spaces that have been created with change in mind to meet the needs of users. While Kerstin spoke on KTA’s recent work at Deakin University, fellow speakers included Diego Fullaondo, Des Smith and SJB’s Amanda Roberts. The event was chaired by Sandy Law.

DoubleTALK Speaker Series

Last week in Sydney Kerstin spoke at DoubleTALK, the new Australia-wide Speaker Series curated by renowned Sydney-based architect Stephen Varady. Developed to showcase the work of Australia’s best architects, each event engages two speakers with presentations framed around projects and their “back stories”, from client brief and site description to design and construction process and completed work. Kerstin spoke on projects including House at Lake Connewarre, MUMA and Big Hill House ahead of Brit Andresen, professor emeritus at the University of Queensland. For details visit here

21st Century Art Museums

KTA’s Monash University Museum of Art is in good company in Georgia Lindsay’s new book, The User Perspective on Twenty-First Century Art Museums. Published by Routledge, it also features chapters on New York’s New Museum of Contemporary Art (by SANAA), Rome’s National Museum of XXI Century Arts (MAXXI, by Zaha Hadid Architecture) and Antwerp’s Museum aan de Stroom (by Neutelings Riedijk Architects). Surveying 14 museums from the US, Europe, China and Australia, it concludes with a chapter on lessons learned and a critical assessment of 21st Century museum architecture.

Looking Up

Who says a ceiling can’t be a source of great beauty? Here’s an image of our current residential project in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. Situated on a property with views across Melbourne’s north-east toward the Kinglake Ranges, the greater part of the house sits beneath a draped, timber-lined ceiling. The curved roof hangs low as you enter, rising as you progress through the house to reach its greatest volume over the living areas. The dwelling’s palette of timber and exposed brickwork is simple so as not to detract from the impact of its internal spaces. The project is due for completion later this year.

Yellowtrace profile

While the work of KTA has featured in the pages of online design publication Yellowtrace on numerous occasions, the latest profile piece on Kerstin gives great insight into the practice’s philosophy around the role of architecture in our everyday lives; how what it can do is just as important as what it looks like. The piece also provides a comprehensive overview of KTA’s work and the diversity of our projects. Check it out here

The Weekly Review

As Claire Kennedy writes in this week’s Weekly Review, “new apartment development has skyrocketed in Melbourne since 2009 and their quality has become a hot topic. Apartments now make up nearly one-third of all new dwellings approved across the state and it is predicted that more than 35,000 apartments will be built across Melbourne between 2015 and 2017.” Which begs the question: what makes a good apartment? Claire’s piece surveys the nine projects shortlisted in the apartment and unit-design category of this year’s Houses Awards, including KTA’s Flinders Lane Apartment. The qualities of a good apartment, for Kerstin, include “natural light, access to fresh air and cross-ventilation, a visual aspect and outlook, even if the view is of a constructed environment, as well as a sense of openness and spaciousness, regardless of the apartment’s size”. Read more here.

Spark Festival

The Spark International Festival of Media, Arts, and Design is an annual week-long event hosted by the School of Media Arts on the Waikato Institute of Technology’s city campus in Hamilton, New Zealand. Now in its 18th year, the festival brings together creative minds both local and international for a program of lectures, exhibitions, workshops and events involving contemporary arts, media, music and design. Its goal is to foster conversations and thinking between students, local industry partners and the creative community. As part of this year’s program, Kerstin will present a talk on August 10. The festival runs August 8-12, see details

Wye River Bushfire Rebuild

Director of Projects Kelley Mackay last week visited Wye River to speak at 6×6, an exhibition commissioned by the Office of the Victorian Government Architect, curated by Edwards Moore Architects and supported by Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning, the Victorian Building Authority and the Colac-Otway Shire. The event featured six selected “Case Study” houses by architects including KTA, Ian Weir, Edwards Moore, MRTN Architects, Jackson Clements Burrows and Archiblox in the Wye River & Separation Creek area. Its purpose was to help residents think about re-build processes, approaches and materials following the Christmas Day fires last year in which so many people lost their homes. Kelley presented a recent build, House at Big Hill, through a series of models and plans, discussing its BAL rating, site constraints, client brief, lessons learned and bushfire resistant design features. The event will be repeated in Melbourne in July.

Windsor Spa

Here’s an early sketch of our new spa project at the Windsor Hotel. Inspired by Roman baths and rituals of bathing, the design traces a pathway from tepidarium to caldarium, with individual spaces framed by vaulted arches and fringed by niches. What is created is a subterranean sanctuary that is a world unto itself.

Ethics of Architecture

Beginning later this month the Robin Boyd Foundation will host a series of talks based on the ethics of architecture – a topic that encompasses everything from the smallest day-to-day decisions architects make to the grander idea of architecture’s contribution to the way our cities work and enhance our lives. Speakers will include Richard Wynne, Minister for Planning, ethicist, theologian + strategic advisor Rufus Black, Studio Mumbai’s Bijoy Jain, philosopher John Armstrong and architects Andrew Maynard, Michael Markham and Esther Charlesworth. KTA’s Kerstin Thompson will speak on August 23. For details visit the Robin Boyd Foundation website

South Sea

Here’s a recent photo from a site visit to our current residential build on the Mornington Peninsula. Situated on a property with dramatic views across Western Port, the house comprises a series of lightweight pods arranged in a pinwheel around a central terrace. Elevated to capture views of the water and treetops with an emphasis on creating a sense of flow between interior and exterior spaces, the house’s material focus is on cement sheet and timber referencing the original fibro beach shacks of the area. The project is due for completion later this year.

Jule House

As Naomi Stead writes in The Conversation, one of the very first pieces of advice you receive in architecture school is Never Work For Family. But sometimes it pays to throw caution to the wind, as KTA architect Claire Humphreys shows with her Jule House. Built for her mother, it won the Brisbane House of the Year 2015 in the AIA awards. Back in March Claire spoke about the project at an Asia Pacific Architecture Forum discussion. Read more about it in ArchitectureAU.

National Architecture Conference

At this year’s AIA National Architecture Conference Kerstin was part of a lively panel discussion with Sandra Kaji-O’Grady, Timothy Hill, Charles Rice, Thomas Fisher and Nasrine Seraji. Titled How Soon Is Now? the conference brought together “people, practices and projects addressing the future, investigating resilience, society, equity and agency”. Its aim was to establish a discourse that empowers architects “to actively participate in the massive transformations that are occurring to cities, to global as well as local societies, and to the sustainability of our planet”.

Guide Hill

One perk of being an architect is visiting sites in breathtakingly beautiful locations. Here are Kerstin and Chris Kelly of Architecture Workshop in New Zealand on the South Island visiting a potential resort site. If you look closely you can see the jagged outline of Aoraki beyond the alpine lake.

Broadmeadows Town Hall

KTA yesterday won the contract for the Broadmeadows Town Hall Redevelopment, a project that will revitalise the cultural heart of Broadmeadows and provide a focus and gathering place for its culturally diverse and rapidly growing population. The project is due for completion in 2018.

Jewish Holocaust Museum

KTA’s design winning entry for the new Jewish Holocaust Centre has now progressed to return brief stage. The design imagines a space for educating students and visitors about the Holocaust, placing the experience of survivors and their stories at its heart.

Arranged over several levels, the centre will incorporate several museums and auditoriums, a research centre and memorial garden. It is imagined, borrowing the words of Elaine Heumann Gurian, as a place of life.

University of Sydney PhD Graduands

“Does a good student make a good practitioner? Not necessarily. But a good practitioner is always a mighty fine student.” Pictured here with University of Sydney Pro-Chancellor, Mrs Dorothy Hoddinott AO, and Professor John Redmond, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, Kerstin this week presented the occasional address for graduands in the Masters of Architecture as well as postgraduate degrees in architectural science, design computing and urban and regional planning.

The Lyceum Club, Melbourne

At the time of its opening, the Lyceum Club and its post-Modernist architecture represented an exciting time in the professional advancement of women. KTA’s work involves the substantial revitalisation of amenities and ambience to attract new members and accommodate a greater range and scale of events.

The addition of a fourth floor “garden room” will feature a multi-function area that works in harmony with the original Ellison Harvie design, heralding a new era for the club.

Punch Lane Pop up

Our design for Honcho, chef Adam Liston’s new pop up restaurant in Punch Lane, is inspired by the form of a floating lantern. Scheduled to open in September, the 60-seat Korean-Japanese-Chinese restaurant takes its name from the Japanese word “hancho” meaning leader of the pack.

Mention of it has already made the pages of The Age’s Good Food, Broadsheet and Concrete Playground. All we can say is: yum.

Deakin University/A+B

KTA’s refurbishment of Deakin University’s School of Architecture and Built Environment/A+B is now complete. The brief involved reconfiguring the internal layout of the school to reflect a more teaching focussed/student centred approach. This new open arrangement enables a recalibration of character towards inclusiveness and friendliness.

Housed in a significant historical building on the Geelong waterfront, the project involved uncovering features of the original woolsheds including beams, clerestory windows and columns and making them a highlight of the new design. Staff and students moved in during March.

Jock Comini Rest Area

Last year KTA won a VicRoads Design Competition for Jock Comini Rest Stop Reserve. Our concept aims to bring delight and an appreciation of landscape to the rest stop experience. Light filled, airy and pleasant, the design sits in deliberate contrast to the typically dark and dank public toilet experience. Skirted by ancient red gums and walking paths for those looking to stretch their legs, the facilities are sensitively integrated among the trees, granitic boulders and memorials. We’ll be starting on site later this year.

Abbotsford Convent

Look familiar? It should. Home to 100 studios, two galleries, cafes, a band room, an outdoor cinema, a radio station, a school, and skirted by beautiful gardens, Abbotsford Convent is Australia’s largest multi-arts precinct.

KTA is currently undertaking the refurbishment of Sacred Heart, a project that’s involved reflecting on the historical significance of a site that once provided refuge for women and young girls and reimagining it as a place of gathering, creativity, learning and festivities.

TarraWarra Cellar Door

Crafted from textured concrete with timber highlights and furniture hewn from recycled fence posts, the recently opened TarraWarra Cellar Door in the Yarra Valley delivers visitors, seated amid wine bottles and barrels, to the heart of the estate’s winemaking culture. Photos of Kerstin on site were published in the March edition of Belle magazine.

Sunbury Community & Arts Precinct

KTA last week completed its Master Plan for the Sunbury Community & Arts Precinct. The plan reimagines this historically significant site as a lively and dynamic arts and cultural centre for both locals and visitors alike, and provides scope for a range of activities including artist studios, exhibitions, music festivals, community gatherings, workshops and classes.

VCA School of Art

Our exciting project converting the Former Mounted Police Stables at Southbank into studios and exhibition spaces for VCA’s School of Art is currently at contract documentation stage. The project involves the adaptive re-use of this historic building into a range of adaptable and flexible installation, performance, academic and administration for the school.

It seeks to integrate the school within the Southbank Campus while also conserving the site’s significant cultural and built heritage.

Ian Potter Sculpture Court

Stillness, Clarity, Integrity. The Ian Potter Sculpture Court at Monash University designed by Kerstin Thompson Architects, Simon Ellis Landscape Architects and Fiona Harrisson is written about in the current edition of Landscape Architecture Australia.

Flinders Lane Apartment

KTA’s Flinders Lane apartment was last week shortlisted in the 2016 Houses Awards. A love of books is central to the life of the clients, so the heart of this project is a library – an intimate retreat housing their collection. Employing a palette of perforated steel, the new work contrasts with the existing 1920s shell to create a dark heart with a light perimeter. You can read more about it in The Australian.