The Barn House

“The clients wished to create a house that sat comfortably in the landscape as well taking inspiration from the existing farm buildings on site”

The house is sited as part of a working farm  Green Hills Farm that has been established by the client to regenerate 150 acres of West Gippsland pasture and bushland. The house functions as a centre for their operations, a family home and a place from which they can offer different experiences. The property is accessed via a steep road that overlooks the remainder of the property below. The house is approached past the orchard and garden beds of the farm and the main house is nestled into the hill with a timber board and batten wall facing the approach. As you enter the breezeway through a large red sliding barn door, the space opens up to the valley below. The central breezeway uses recycled brick that contrasts with the rough timber lining boards used throughout the house. The boards reflect the timber boards that were on the interior of the milking sheds that used to stand on the site. To the left is the large central space with glazing to the full extent of the West façade looking over the valley. The space is defined by several large, exposed timber trusses and columns supporting the timber-lined roof. The trusses were constructed on site by the builder. The rear wall features the same recycled brick used in the breezeway. The floor is burnished concrete, and this material is echoed in the kitchen benchtops. The interior uses black detailing in the joinery, steel splashback and the steel plates joining the timber trusses.

The far end wall has a custom formed concrete bench with a steel firewood rack at one end. An open fireplace perches on the bench with exposed flue through the ceiling.

The bedroom wing is on the other side of the breezeway and has two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a master bedroom and Ensuite.  A central hallway runs along the length with the rough boards on the bedroom side contrasting with white full height joinery on the other side. The master bedroom at the end commands views over the valley, with timber detailing in the flooring and joinery. The master Ensuite and bathroom contrast with a continuation of the black theme used in the kitchen.

To the South of the main house is a studio that again uses the language and materiality of the old shed that stood on the site. The exterior is clad with rusty galvanised iron, contrasted with black detailing in the flashings and windows. The interior is finished in limed plywood on the walls and ceiling with a burnished concrete floor. The kitchen is detailed with contrasting black cupboards. The bathroom pod is accessed past storage cupboards. The bathroom is lined in simple galvanised ripple iron that follows the curves of the exterior walls.

The space is used as a retreat from the main house and for visitors to the farm.

Builder: JW & WM Woodbridge Building Pty Ltd.

Wonthaggi Community Health

"The project included the complete refurbishment of the existing 1980’s brick building on the site and the inclusion of a new office pod”

Client Name:                         Latrobe Regional Health

Area:                                      740m²

Builder:                                  TS Constructions

The project is for a new Community Health building located in Wonthaggi and operated by Latrobe Regional Health. The service had previously been located at Wonthaggi hospital in old building stock. The new project provided the opportunity to re-use the existing building on site and to create a modern facility for the service. The existing building has had many uses in the past, including its last life as a tech school. Slap Architects assessed the project and determined that the existing building was sufficient to be reused, saving the client some construction costs as well, as reducing the environmental footprint.  The fitout includes several consulting rooms and treatment rooms in the existing building and the addition of a “pod” at the rear to house office staff. The consulting rooms provide high acoustic privacy. The pod uses the language of the existing 1980’s mansard roof canopy at the front of the building. Both the pod and the canopy were clad in raised seem roofing material.

The interior uses warm tones and materials to provide a less formal and less clinical feel to the user experience.


Nagle College Salesian Technology Precinct Walkthrough

A video walkthrough of the recently completed Nagle College Salesian Technology Centre. For more detail, check out the project page:

Toorloo Arm Primary School Stage 2

“In conjunction with the primary school we were able to customise a new building to the their needs, and develop a solution that enhanced the school grounds and produced an environment that is a delight for all who use it”

Project Name:

Toorloo Arm Primary School BER building



Construction Budget:

$2.0 Million


Brooker Builders

SLAP Architects have been involved with Toorloo Arm Primary School for  some years now with their Masterplanning as well as having designed the original permanent building on the site. The site itself is quite compact and required some special attention in regards to the staging of works to minimise disruption to the school and to allow for future expansion. The school originally had one permanent building and the remainder of the classrooms and staff buildings were portables which were extremely dated in their function, construction, comfort and IT. The project consisted of a template building provided under the Building the Education Revolution program as well as works with additional funding from the government. We worked closely with the school to customise the original design to the school’s needs, adding additional area, joinery and configuring classrooms. The school also added landscaped areas and seating to ensure that the building sat comfortably in its new location. The school wanted the building to be bright and colourful, so we worked with them to produce a scheme that used block colour to compliment the building externally and define the different building elements. Internally we used colour to define the different spaces and to visually break up the large central area. The school was completed in Early 2013 and opened in September by the Minster for Education Martin Dixon. The school is extremely pleased with the building and this is reflected in both the staff and student’s. They provided anecdotes at the opening on having an environment that is a joy to be in. In comparison to the previous portable classrooms the new building brings natural light, ventilation and a consistent temperature. The rooms also benefit from the latest IT infrastructure which is accessible from anywhere in the building. This all comes together to produce a school environment that all those who use it and have been involved in can be proud of.

Forestech - Advance Tafe

“Slap Architects were commissioned to design the Forestech facility to bring together three disparate cultures in the hardwood timber industry which had previously been located and working independently on the one campus. These being – Resource Management, Furniture Design and Forest Harvesting. The facility is the culmination of team work between representatives of these disciplines,  including the students and the architects.”

Project Name:




Construction Budget:

$2.1 Million


Brooker Builders

The design incorporates a ‘street’ concept to which all the activities on the campus are linked. This ensures that there is a strong interaction between the various student and staff groups. Certain deliberate planning aspects help reinforce this interaction, these are a common staff office, a café, that serves both the students and the staff, and the placement of all the classrooms in one location and not adjacent to each department. The design is linear in form following the ‘street’ that runs in an east west direction. This enables the building to follow the fall of the land and sit below the tree canopy, and more importantly to maximize the north aspect for solar access.

The visible materials are all East Gippsland timbers and were chosen for their high yield and durability. The external weatherboards are radial sawn yellow stringy bark which is untreated or finished thus reducing maintenanceRadial sawing ensures that the recovery from the log is the greatest possible, and also has the benefit of minimizing the warping and twisting that results from conventional sawing. Internal timbers such as feature grade plywood’s and flooring. Exposed timber trusses all employ local hardwoods.  The structure combines the use of timber and with some steel which reflects much of the construction of the furniture created by the students.

The other material employed extensively in the complex is corrugated iron in natural finish which has been used on the roofs and also for some of the wall cladding. This is a product that has a long association with the hardwood timber industry, especially in traditional timber mill structures.

As Forestech sits in a forest, care has been taken to minimize the effects of bush fires. Timber at the eaves level, especially on the north side, where the fire threat is the greatest, is eliminated and gutters which catch leaves have, where possible, been deleted. Decks on the north side are concrete rather than timber decking. There are no slatted base boards to buildings where sparks or wind driven embers can penetrate.

The materials were chosen to reflect the function of the building and the location of the facility.  Visible materials, where practicable, employ East Gippsland hardwood timbers.

The structure uses common bush poles won from the forest combined with timber trusses and some steel framing. The visible trusses are native hardwoods while the concealed trusses, together with the wall framing, use plantation pine framing.

The materials being generally natural are non toxic and provide a healthy building.

Mechanical systems are low technology with the emphasis on natural ventilation and passive solar design with back up from ceiling fans and small package air conditioners for specialist areas.

Forestech continues to be the home of East Gippsland’s Advance Tafe’s curriculum for conservation and land management.