Hilton Design Competition

Government of Western Australia


Hilton, Western Australia




Competition - submit an initial design concept for two public housing units up to 80 square metres each on a rear battle-axe lot in Hilton.

This Competition required the development of a unique concept design that incorporates two dwellings that each have a minimum floor area of 60 square metres and a maximum floor area of 80 square metres. The concept needed to be considered as a ‘design approach’ that is capable of being adapted to six other rear battle-axe lots owned by Housing in Hilton, which have a range of site characteristics and constraints.

This competition marked a search for a new kind of public housing, inviting novel typologies for infill development in Western Australia that can challenge expectations and generate variety, equity and affordability.

Pocket Park seeks to elevate the sense of community and social inclusion.

Built upon the Garden City precedent, Pocket Park firstly expands the Hilton Harvest Community Garden program, and increases access to green spaces. Secondly, taking cues from the Fremantle maritime and industrial archetype, the proposal interprets the structural portal to develop multiple typologies.

These structural bays provide a single asymmetric portal frame manufactured from engineered plantation timber. To maximise site and building typology, the portals are spaced at 3 metre centres developing an overall framework for the ‘kit of parts’ approach. Over the 7 competition sites, economies of scale make this a cost-effective construction method. The iconic shape of the portal evokes the harbour city's industrial fabric and links the developments across the 7 sites. Material and finish variations utilising the Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) together with programme adaptations, will provide bespoke solutions for each dwelling.

SIPs are a high performance prefabricated building system for residential and light commercial construction, widely used in North America for the past 30 years. The panels consist of an insulating foam core sandwiched between two structural facings (traditionally OSB). Recent developments in Australia have made SIPs an extremely affordable and aesthetically versatile alternative to traditional construction. Using a variety of pre-fabricated structural facings both internally and externally, the composite SIPs provide a flexible structural system, incorporating insulation and cladding while reducing multiple on-site trades and transport of materials.

An 80 sqm single storey dwelling can be erected in 5 days following the curing of the slab (150 man hours). The use of factory applied finishes also provides greater quality control and minimises the involvement of finishing trades. The savings in both time and labour enables a higher quality of finish and larger built area compared with a traditional method of construction. The 'kit of parts' approach develops the concept of pre-fabricated building from a simple transportable form to a sophisticated housing model.

Sustainable design begins with the correct orientation, the starting point for all sites. The northern angle of the roof is pitched at the optimum 31.9 degrees suited for solar design in Perth. Passive design principles include:

Thermal chimneys; Water harvesting and storage for suitable reuse and provision of thermal mass; Natural ventilation; Permeable trafficable surfaces; Providing living and bedroom areas with Northern exposure

Pocket Park encourages residents to reconsider the car bay space as an additional courtyard, enhancing the sense of community and embracing environmentally sustainable living. Building upon the Hilton Harvest Community Garden residents can cultivate and harvest fresh produce incorporated in the variety of communal and private outdoor areas.

Pocket Park will enhance the well being of residents, encourage social responsibility, increase outdoor amenity and contribute to building the thriving community of Hilton.