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Shearer’s Quarters

The Shearer’s Quarters by John Wardle Architects, is located on a working sheep farm on Bruny Island. The plan transforms along its length to shift its profile from a slender skillion roof at the west to a broad gable at the east. It is clad externally in galvanized iron and lined internally with timber. A detached chimney of handmade bricks is similarly composed to those of the nearby historic dwelling.

Shearer’s-Quarters-By-John-Wardle-Architects-02-759x343 Shearer’s Quarters / John Wardle Architects

© Trevor Mein

The building occupies a small footprint of 130m2, and is designed to be thermally comfortable year round. It employs operable ventilation lourves, double glazing, on-site waste water treatment, and solar hot water. There has been extensive use of sustainable and recycled materials throughout.

Among the many submissions for rural or vacation houses, Shearers’ Quarters, on the southernmost tip of Tasmania, clearly caught the jury’s eye. Set on a working sheep farm, however, this is no romantic idyll. Built on the site of an old shearing shed destroyed by fire in the 1980s, the new house overlooks a coastal panorama and sits as a companion to an existing historic cottage constructed by the original landowner, Captain James Kelly, who acquired the property in 1840.

Shearer’s-Quarters-By-John-Wardle-Architects-03-759x564 Shearer’s Quarters / John Wardle Architects

© Trevor Mein

The land is now owned and worked by the Wardle family and the new house is intended to host shearers and rural contractors, as well as family, friends and staff of John Wardle architects.

The plan transforms along its length, shifting its profile from that of a slender skillion at its western end, to a broad gable at its east end. This exposition of two primary forms of vernacular agricultural structures allows the plan to align exactly with both the fall of the land to the south and the line of the original residence along its north side.

Shearer’s-Quarters-By-John-Wardle-Architects-05-759x506 Shearer’s Quarters / John Wardle Architects

© Trevor Mein

The inset veranda on the north edge shifts alignment with the ridge to line up exactly with the veranda of the original house. This transformation also allows the building to broaden at its eastern corner to encompass the living area, which flares out and opens up to the ocean views.

Alluding to the agricultural context, corrugated galvanised iron is used for the cladding and timber (notably pine) for the interior. Many materials are recycled; bedrooms, for instance, are lined with old applebox crates. A responsive approach to environmental issues is manifest throughout, from the siting of the house (sheltered from prevailing winds), to openable louvres and vents for natural ventilation.

Shearer’s-Quarters-By-John-Wardle-Architects-06-759x568 Shearer’s Quarters / John Wardle Architects

© Trevor Mein

Rainwater is harvested for drinking, lavatories and showers, and waste water is treated on site and used to irrigate a small native plantation. The jury admired the innate sense of poetic rusticity coupled with a beautifully precise approach to detailing and materials.

Alluding to the agricultural context, corrugated galvanised iron is used for the cladding and timber (notably pine) for the interior. Many materials are recycled; bedrooms, for instance, are lined with old applebox crates. A responsive approach to environmental issues is manifest throughout, from the siting of the house (sheltered from prevailing winds), to openable louvres and vents for natural ventilation.

Shearer’s-Quarters-By-John-Wardle-Architects-07-759x572 Shearer’s Quarters / John Wardle Architects

© Trevor Mein

Rainwater is harvested for drinking, lavatories and showers, and waste water is treated on site and used to irrigate a small native plantation. The jury admired the innate sense of poetic rusticity coupled with a beautifully precise approach to detailing and materials.

Alluding to the agricultural context, corrugated galvanised iron is used for the cladding and timber (notably pine) for the interior. Many materials are recycled; bedrooms, for instance, are lined with old applebox crates. A responsive approach to environmental issues is manifest throughout, from the siting of the house (sheltered from prevailing winds), to openable louvres and vents for natural ventilation.

Shearer’s-Quarters-By-John-Wardle-Architects-08 Shearer’s Quarters / John Wardle Architects

© Trevor Mein

Rainwater is harvested for drinking, lavatories and showers, and waste water is treated on site and used to irrigate a small native plantation. The jury admired the innate sense of poetic rusticity coupled with a beautifully precise approach to detailing and materials.

Shearer’s-Quarters-By-John-Wardle-Architects-09-759x701 Shearer’s Quarters / John Wardle Architects

© Trevor Mein

John Wardle Architects:

The Shearer’s Quarters is located on ‘Waterview’, an historic farming property on North Bruny Island on land first granted to Captain James Kelly in 1840. The property is a working sheep farm of 440 hectares that has been operated by the one family for 10 years. The priority to date has been the rejuvenation of the landscape with over 150 hectares reserved for conservation purposes and over 6,000 indigenous trees planted.

Shearer’s-Quarters-By-John-Wardle-Architects-13-759x603 Shearer’s Quarters / John Wardle Architects

© Trevor Mein

The Shearer’s Quarters is located on the site of the old shearing shed that was destroyed by fire in the 1980s. The building sits as a companion building to the existing historic cottage constructed by Kelly. It has been designed to house shearers, family and friends on annual tree planting weekends and retreats. It contains a large living/dining/kitchen area, small bathroom and laundry, two bedrooms and a bunkroom.

The plan form transforms along its length to shift the profile of a slender skillion at the western end to a broad gable at the east. The geometry of this shift is carried through to the layout of internal walls, lining boards and window frames.

Shearer’s-Quarters-By-John-Wardle-Architects-11 Shearer’s Quarters / John Wardle Architects

© Trevor Mein

A singular palette of materials has been used: corrugated galvanised iron to the exterior, and timber internally. The primary internal lining is Pinus Macrocarpa sourced from many different suppliers principally as individual trees from old rural windbreaks. The bedrooms are lined in recycled applebox crates, sourced from the many old orchards of the Huon Valley where the timber has remained stacked but unused since the late 1960s.

Shearer’s-Quarters-by-John-Wardle-Architects-15 Shearer’s Quarters / John Wardle Architects

© Trevor Mein

Project Data:

Project name: Shearer’s Quarters
Location: Bruny Island, Tasmania, Australia
Coordinates: n/a
Type:

  • Type By Characteristic: Architects House, Farm House, Green House, Sustainable House
  • Type By Site: Island House
  • Type By Size: Small House – (51 sqm – 200 sqm)
  • Type By Materials: Wooden House

Footprint Area: approx 130 sqm
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 01 December 2011

Awards:

  • 2012 – World Architecture Festival Award – Category: Villa – Winner
  • 2012 – Australian Houses Awards – New House under 200 m2
  • 2012 – The Architectural Review (AR+D Awards) – HIGHLY COMMENDED
  • 2012 – Australian Institute of Architects Awards – People’s Choice

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: John Wardle
Architects: John Wardle Architects, Level 10, 180 Russell Street, Melbourne Victoria, Australia 3000
Interior designer: Jeff Arnold
Kitchen appliances: Smeg
Bathroom fittings: Zucchetti
Text Description: © Courtesy of John Wardle Architects, bleuscape, Australian Institute of Architects
Images: © Trevor Mein – meinphoto Pty Ltd, John Wardle Architects

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Shearer’s Quarters / John Wardle Architects
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