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.