Kerry Hill interview, 21 November, 2014

Dublin Core


Kerry Hill interview, 21 November, 2014




This is an interview with Kerry Hill, who studied architecture at Perth Technical College before transferring to the University of WA as one of the first intact of architectural students in 1966. He graduating from UWA in 1968. He worked for Howlett & Bailey on projects such as the building of the Perth Concert Hall from 1969 to 1971 before moving to work in Hong Kong and throughout Asia. In 1979 Hill would establish Kerry Hill Architects based in Singapore.
During the interview he talks of his memories of coming to UWA and the strong sense of community that he experienced in the faculty of Architecture. He talks of his memories of the university architectural course and the staff he experienced in a close knit group. He speaks of his impressions of how the university has changed, along side discussing how he believes the study of Architecture has changed. He talks of some of his work, including the proposed Museum for Aboriginal Cultures at UWA. He also talks of a sense of homecoming when talking about his work with The State Theatre and The City of Perth Library building. Hill has been awarded for his work, which includes the Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2001, Royal Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 2006. He is also a recipient of the Order of Australia.


Hill, Kerry


University of Western Australia Historical Society


Copyright holder University of Western Australia


MP3 files


Oral history

Oral History Item Type Metadata


John Bannister


Kerry Hill


1 hour, 10 minutes, 27 seconds

Bit Rate/Frequency

128 kbs

Time Summary

Track 1
William Kerry Hill. Perth 1943. Background and early recollections. getting interested in architecture. No one is born an architect. Place and travel influences direction. Family background father dies in the Battle of Britain 1943. Mothers connection to the cattle station
Making use of experiences in later work. Coming University of Western Australia. The Perth technical college. Coffee shop in Zimple’s Arcade and the shiralee. Films and snooker. Art classes at the Old Perth Boys high School. A great life.
Perth technical college, University of WA
Inspired by the architecture of Perth. Work and play. Friday nights at the Adelphi Hotel. Professional and architectural camaraderie in Perth in the 1960s. Friends with Jeffrey Howlett. Howlett* becomes mentor. The iconic Council House building. Engaging with the profession and the city.
Jeffrey Howlett, Council House building, camaraderie.
Architectural faculty starting at UWA. Qualifications needed. 3 year course. First year 1966. Comparisons to tech. Initial impressions. Descriptions of buildings. 16 students have close connections with staff. Broome shire council and the tourist master plan. Roger Johnstone. Peter Middleton buys a combie to travel faculty around Australia.
Architecture faculty, Peter Middleton, Roger Johnstone,
Close friendships between staff and students. Memories of Sir Harold Marshall. Peter Middleton. The world of acoustics. Jeffrey Howlett. The state theatre. Middleton brought out of retirement. John Cullen. John White. Roger Johnstone Burma and Asian architecture. Stimulants to go to Asia. Gordon Stephenson was steering the ship. Duncan Richards a marvellous master.
Sir Harold Marshall, Peter Middleton, Jeffrey Howlett, John Cullen, John White, Roger Johnstone*
Gallery opening and UWA exhibit for the Biennale*. Janet Holmes a court. Hall green. A community associated with the faculty. A big family. Gordon Stephenson and roger Johnstone. The space of the university inspires. Returning to university.
Gordon Stephenson, Janet Holmes a Court, Roger Johnstone,
Descriptions of The Museum of aboriginal cultures. Housing the Berndt Collection. Memories of John White. The running of the course. Core unit design and studio. People sleep under the desk. Learning how to draw. Comparisons of computer. The best designer. Art classes and live nude models. Introduced to the computer.
Learning to draw, computer, design,
Learning to build in miniature. Design and model making. Learning in a community of peers. Discussions more than lecture. A closed shop on the campus. Sticking together as a group. No time to do anything else other than architecture.
Learning to build, design, peers,
Leaving university and taking the university into career. Technology and architecture. The Concert Hall and capitol theatre. Buildings associated with. Memories of working on The Perth Concert Hall.
Leaving university, Perth Concert Hall, technology,
Continual learning on the job. Wanting work in the united states. Working as an architect in Hong Kong and Bali. Field work and Bali. Working in Asia different from experiences in Perth. Aspiring to good architecture. Comparing India and Asian processes of building.
Learning on the job, good architecture, Hong Kong, Bali.
Problems with working in Bali. Working 18 hrs a day. Working in designing hotels. Deciding to stop working on hotels. Doing competitions since 2005. State theatre comp and diversification.
Bali, hotels, competitions,
Building in place and problem solving and building form and type. Art Gallery of NSW complicated sites. Tough competition. Reciprocal influence between modern principles and traditions of the east. Examples of working Bhutan. Discussion with the Prime Minister of Bhutan. Traditional building in Bhutan. Earthquake resistant buildings.
Competition, Traditional, influences, Bhutan
Direct influence and technology transfer. Tradition and building. Influences taken on board. Spirit of buildings. Building light weight in Kyoto.
Tradition, influence, technology transfer

Track 2
Women in the course. Jean Brodie-Hall and the lay out of the gardens. Looking at the campus. Seeing the trees and the building. The loss of vision of the university. Gus Ferguson departure. The Reid library a bit of a departure. The business school. The sense of place found in the old buildings and the gardens. Ted Snell – 100 favourite things about the university.
Jean Brodie-Hall, Gus Ferguson, Ted Snell, loss of vision
Place and space and the growth of the university. Planning and special. The open spaces between the buildings. Gus Ferguson and the growth of the university and plans. Stretching down fairway. Expanding beyond the ground. Gus Ferguson. Off campus buildings. Boundaries.
Planning, Gus Ferguson, campus building,
Awarded for work. Aga Kahn Award for Architecture 2001* and Order of Australia Medal. Importance of being awarded an Honorary Doctorate of UWA. 2006 the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal. Surprise of awards. Trying to do work better. Involvements of building in Perth. Home coming. State Theatre and Perth City library. Sitting in a building. Winning competitions. Museum close to Kerry Hill.
Awards, Home coming, State Theatre, Awards
Completing the circle. Great feelings associated with working across the road from where he studied. Employing UWA graduates. Becoming serious competitors. Graduates of UWA comparing to the best Graduates of the best universities of the world. Mentorship programmes set up with UWA graduates.
University graduates, mentorship
Looking from the past to the future. Helping graduates. Remaining close to graduates. Jack London. University placed in the academic community of Perth. Looking at the UWA architectural course.
Past and future, Jack London, academic community.



Hill, Kerry, “Kerry Hill interview, 21 November, 2014,” UWA Historical Society: UWA Histories, accessed July 13, 2024,