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Ogilvie House


E X E M P L A R A N A L Y S I S / O G I L V I E H O U S E / K E R R Y H I L L A R C H I T E C T S

Kerry Hill is an Australian born architect who now practices in South-East Asia, establishing his own office in Singapore, 1979. He is regarded as one of the most capable and respectably coherent architects alive today; recipient of distinguished critical acclaim his awards span decades rather than years. They include the Kenneth F. Brown Asia-Pacific Culture and Architecture Design Award in 1995, the 2001 Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Robin Boyd Award 2003 and in 2006 the prestigious Royal Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal.

The success of Hill’s work stems from what I believe to be a deep understanding of natural, yet defined archetypical grid patterns that subtlety define space and its relationship to landscape. His built work effortlessly mergers with its location often framing the significant views. This is practically true in his award-winning Ogilvie House.

The Ogilvie House, arguably his most well-known private commission is located at Sunshine Beach, Noosa, Queensland. It is without pier along the Sunshine Coast stretch. Those who have experienced it from within are often left with a clear perception of where the bar stands in terms of architectural quality and masterful design.

Last week, we had this opportunity as part of ‘Experience 2012’, Australia’s national conference. With a bus load of enthusiastic architecture buffs, and our hosts John Mainwaring, Stephen Guthrie and Lindy Atkin we visited the Ogilvie house, and it did not disappoint.

The house has been fashioned into a sequence of different experiances that build upon on each other, the  first being a gallery and the Ogilvie family’s extensive art collection. This space winds its way around a central double height courtyard that is also a reflection pond.

The first floor is arrived at via a beautifully crafted minimal stair leading to a view that almost defies explanation. The public floor space is divided up into a series of sub-sites. These sub-sites gently blur into each other leaving very little distinction between the boundaries of inside and out. The internal transparency has been completely extended throughout to a point where the house itself feels like a form of landscaped surfaces leading to a framed perspective of the horizon.

The rooms of the house all seem to gather around a central ‘notable room’ in which public activities are carried out. The centrality and grandeur of this public space suggest that the house has imbued qualities as a place for entertainment and large social gatherings of people, which must have been specified in the brief.

Hill is renowned for his attention to detail but in this case it seems he has purposefully kept the architecture simple and clean preferring not to detract from the views and the opportunity of connection between family and friends. In doing so he has allowed for the house to act as a container for the memorable moments that can be experienced within its walls.

In all my time as a designer and one interested in architecture I can truly say that I have never experienced such a wonderful, well-considered home. It is simply extraordinary what an amazing site, an open-minded client and a visionary architect can achieve. This house is a tribute to Queensland architecture.





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