Great Wall of Warburton / BKK Architects

© Shannon McGrath

Architects: BKK Architects
Location: Victoria,
Project team: Simon Knott, Julian Kosloff, Tim Black, Lauren Dornau, Rory Hyde, George Huon, Michael Roper, Michael White, Adi Atic
Builder: Overend Constructions
Engineer: Design Action Pty Ltd – Patrick Irwin
Building Surveyor: Group II Building Surveyors
Project area: 322 sqm
Project year: 2008
Photographs: Shannon McGrath

plan 01

On an elevated site set amongst native bushland with rolling hills to the north, the Great Wall of Warburton withholds views upon approach, presenting a mute block wall embedded into the site. This wall further explores our interest in how a line drawn becomes a wall that acts to claim space or mark territory. At this point you are still denied the view. Passing through this wall via the compressed point of entry, the panorama is suddenly revealed to the viewer; and further heightened by the dramatic angled ceiling. The interior face of the wall acts as a constant, omnipresent anchoring device as you move through the house. It is visible from every space. Each space unfolds from one to the other as the wall shifts in plan. This unfolding of space is subtle and yet dramatic as you journey through the house.

© Shannon McGrath

This project continues our exploration of how interiors engage with the landscape. This is a vigorous, emphatic relationship commensurate with the power of the Australian landscape. Not a ‘touch the earth lightly’ approach. The relationship is symbiotic rather than subservient. The large, solid masonry wall acts as an anchor to the house that embeds it into the landscape. We have long been fascinated with the power of building; the cultural and political act of constructing walls in the landscape; how we claim territory and inhabit the landscape.

© Shannon McGrath

We are interested in the journey both to the house and through it. The ceiling/floor levels are manipulated to modulate the space of this journey. Level changes are strategically placed to demarcate specific living zones as well as contributing to the sense of journey the inhabitant encounters as they navigate along the wall. The thinness of the plan (never more than the width of one room and hallway) continually thrusts the occupant into the space above the landscape. Each interior space becomes a framing device with subtle variance in the outlook from each room.

Cite: "Great Wall of Warburton / BKK Architects" 23 Jan 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 Mar 2015. <>