The Hi House concept

Four alternative housing options have been unanimously chosen as winners of the New Experimental Architectural Typologies competition, which finds innovative and compact housing solutions for Canberra that challenge current planning regimes.

The competition is a joint venture between the Australian Institute of Architects, Land Development Agency, Environment and Planning Directorate, and Defence Housing Australia.

First prize was presented by ACT environment minister Simon Corbell to Melinda Dodson for her submission “Hi House”, a scheme offering vertically organised flexible housing that can be adapted over time with elevated external spaces that can service both private and communal possibilities.

“This is an intelligent and sophisticated look at higher density in Canberra; an approach which questions prevailing attitudes while providing a sensitive and thoughtful alternative,” the jury said.

Rob Henry took out second prize for a proposal that challenged planning standards by submerging private open space into sunken courtyards and living areas below ground to maximise green spaces over dwellings – supporting the notion of the “bush capital”.


Third prize was awarded to Alison Nobbs for FAMILY house and fourth prize was taken home by Kieran McInerney for N.E.A.T STREET.

The prize pool included individual international travel grants worth up to $10,000 and the opportunity for entrants’ submissions to be considered for implementation through the ACT Community Services Directorate and Defence Housing Australia.

Ideas generated through the competition may now provide a basis for the ACT Planning Authority to consider in the drafting of future planning regulations.