Designed by Hill Thalis Architecture + Urban Projects, Horizon House sits on a dramatic coastal headland that also serves as a working cattle farm. The property’s extraordinary horizon views were considered in every facet of its design to create a home that clearly interacts with its site.

The house tucks into the hillside forming a protective courtyard and cultivated garden separated from the paddocks. Living spaces face the horizon, while the bedroom wings shelter the courtyard space on the northern and southern sides. Each part of the house can choose to engage with the horizon, or retreat to the courtyard.


Approached from above, the roof of the house strikes a strict horizontal line that sits just below the horizon. The tapering form of the house dramatises the experience of moving from land towards water – culminating in a panoramic frame that inflects, in a meniscus lens form, to hold the horizon.

The house is constructed from concrete framing members that are angled to glance light and articulate specific landscape views. The detailing of every junction in the house anticipates the vertical movement of water in high wind conditions.

Where walls meet the ground they are faced with stone selected to match the colours of the local basalt. Where the house hovers above these walls it is trimmed in zinc and concrete so that it merges into the blue grey band between sea and sky.


The weathered outer shell is contrasted with smooth off form concrete, polished plaster, marble, shell and oak finishes internally. A palette of grey, white and silver subtly foregrounds the sumptuous colours of the landscape.

The house forms a silent frame against which landscape, weather, water and sky move in ceaseless complexity and beauty.


This project is part of the Habitus House of the Year competition. Cast your vote and go into the running to win a prize package worth $30,000.