"Hurdles and efforts to achieve this building are largely over-shadowed by the beauty and grace of the finished structure"
Glenn Forest, Senior Environmental Officer Shoalhaven, Department of Defence for Griffiths House

Aerial imagery of HMAS Creswell and surrounding area.

HMAS Creswell Griffiths House

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Department of Defence
HMAS Creswell, Jervis Bay Territory, New South Wales, Australia
September 2006 - October 2010
Full Architectural Services

1,260m² GFA


Griffiths House is located on the site of HMAS Creswell in Jervis Bay, and provides short term accommodation for Officers of the Royal Australian Navy undertaking leadership and management training. HMAS Creswell, established in 1915, has major national heritage significance and the site is characterised by elegant white washed weatherboard buildings.

The new building aligns with the size and form of neighbouring buildings of the 1970s, while incorporating the style and character of the original timber buildings of the site. It utilises the weatherboard cladding, vertical proportioned windows and the gentle curved timber ‘bell’ detail typical in the decorative verandah elements of the original buildings.

Simple yet highly effective sustainable devices create a comfortable internal environment without the need for mechanical ventilation. The building is a reverse brick veneer construction which provides thermal mass to the building, with a lightweight ventilated external skin. The corridors are connected over three levels with ventilated skylights and voids, and the bedrooms share an outdoor deck, which allows all rooms to be cross-ventilated. This also provides natural ventilation to the bathrooms.

The project represents robust, economic design that is appropriate to the location and climate of Creswell. Light and shadow have always been very important considerations in the expression of Australian architecture. Exploiting the intensity of our light in this project has given the opportunity to use a single and very simple material to provide both utility, materiality, and delight.


RAIA ACT Residential Architecture Award

Brief Elements

  • Short term residential accommodation for RAN personnel undergoing officer training
  • Required to be historically and culturally sensitive in relation to it's heritage listed context


  • Aligns with the size and form of neighbouring buildings, while incorporating the elegant weatherboard character and heritage details of the original Creswell buildings
  • Careful internal fire planning to allow skylights to connect three floors
  • Economic and robust building that is sensitive to its environment


Department of Defence
Hansen Yuncken
Managing Contractor
Structural Engineer
Mechanical, Electrical, Communications and Acoustics
Civil and Hydraulic Engineering
Fire Engineer
Gardner Group
Bushfire Consultant
Wilde and Woollard
Quantity Surveyor