Mathieson Architects

The Robert Foster Award for Light in Architecture


Mathieson Architects has been awarded The Robert Foster Award for Light in Architecture at the ACT Architecture Awards 2019 for Red Hill House. The prize recognises excellence in the use of light, whether artificial, natural or a combination of both, and the consideration of light as a part of the whole project.

Jury citation: “Red Hill House is carefully orchestrated as a series of expanding and contracting internal spaces within a limited palette of materials.

Outlooks transform through the journey of the home and emphasise the integral focus on the surrounding garden. Large openings in the more public, spacious zones lead the eye to landscaped view and fill the interior with ample natural light. Tall, narrow openings define the confined circulation zones and create a dramatic and rhythmic lighting effect.

The use of a restrained colour palette emanates reflective light. Avoidance of extraneous detail results in surface planes devoid of visual interruption. The light dissolves mass and matter. The experience is of an open pavilion with a floating spatial quality bathed in natural light. Delicate full height drapes add a subtle materiality as they project an ephemeral luminosity through the day.

The visit to Red Hill House surprised and challenged the jury’s anticipated experience of this expansive residence. The expectation of a sense of overwhelming mass and scale dematerialised indoors, giving way to an experiential architecture that dissolves matter and immerses the visitor in light-filled space. Red Hill House is consequently the standout recipient of the 2019 Robert Foster Award for Light in Architecture.”