“Conceived as merely another chapter in the building’s life, Kerstin Thompson Architects’ tactful and controlled transformation of a heritage listed former stable into an arts school demonstrates a beautiful restoration and repurposing of a fatigued building of historic significance. Careful restoration, and simple but effective insertions allow both readability of, and the dialogue between, the old and new. Recovering and celebrating the essence of the original structure, flexible walls follow the structural logic and rhythm of the existing steel frame and timber trusses. New construction details are of a similar nature but are clever, contemporary, and only upon further glace, distinguish themselves from the original. Providing confident additions with minimal interference, building services are located to the outside of the original stables and aid to form a sophisticated composition of campus buildings.
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.” —Jury Citation
“The VCA former Mounted Police Stables project by KTA is a skilful and highly crafted example of the adaptive reuse of a building in educational architecture. The original heritage building fabric has been adjusted, to accommodate a new program and user group radically different to the original, via a series of thoughtful and robust architectural interventions. A great degree of skill and subtlety has been employed in the architects’ manipulation of the original building fabric, with each detail reflecting a rigorous process of consideration to preserve, adapt, or insert new elements resulting in a restrained and cohesive composition. Old and new sit comfortably together, without precluding ownership of the building by its new occupants. The neutral black and white colour palette and moveable walls invite VCA students to engage with and take ownership of their space and facilitate a variety of operational modes. The architecture confidently succeeds in the complex task of maintaining respect for the original heritage building fabric while simultaneously producing a high level of flexibility and amenity for its new educational purpose. The jury recognises this as an exemplary project in the important and often necessary adaptive reuse of buildings for education.” —Jury Citation
“Located on a picturesque rural site, House at Hanging Rock nestles into the steep slope with a view to its namesake. The house is divided into three parallel terraces, each in step with the landscape. Raw insulated precast concrete walls define the terraces and draw the eye through the house to the old growth forest to the east. Narrow timber shutters within the walls artfully connect the prefabricated panels and allow for cross ventilation and views to the valley. The widest of the three terraces houses the central living zone and overlaps with the outer two terraces, creating a series of interconnected living spaces that are experienced as one larger space. Changes in floor height are exploited as thoughtful, informal seating moments and display areas for the client’s extensive art collection.
Dedicated circulation space is limited to the compressed entry foyer, heightening the sense of delight when entering the living space. Elsewhere passage is from room to room, further enhancing the spatial efficiency of the plan. An elegant, sloping rhomboid roof covers the whole building, uniting the terraces, providing generous covered outdoor areas and further blurring the line between house and landscape. The sloped building form appears vastly different looking up from the valley compared with approaching from the side. Stringent bushfire requirements are seamlessly integrated and inform the brutalist approach to material selection. The restrained interior material palette of concrete, armourply and formply is meticulously detailed yet remains humble and appropriate to the rural setting. This is an intimate house with a sheltering interior in which you can linger and enjoy the distant view of Hanging Rock”. —Jury Citation