Merriwa Farmhouse - Image 1
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Ambitious country homestead development featuring exceptional sustainable design.

Designed for a farming family in rural NSW, in the middle of a drought. The design drew inspiration from international arid vernaculars, in order to be able to cope when the cycle revisits this homestead, and takes components of the functionality from these house typologies. For instance the Mexican courtyard houses, a series of different functions around a central outdoor space, exuding privacy and family gathering. Inviting a cosy atmosphere to the centre of the home, reimagined as a series of spaces divided into their respective functions.

The existing historic house becomes the sleeping quarters, a place to rest and recuperate. Composed of darker smaller spaces with more intricate detailing. These are juxtaposed with the new volumes by modern glass connections. Clearly delineated for an honest design celebrating both eras of construction. The existing house is restored and the new building components are sensitively but clearly added. Passing over the pool into the new daytime quarters which houses the living, dining, kitchen, and play areas. The family have children aged four to fifteen so we wanted to imbue a sense of fun, discovery and adventure in the design.

Celebrating the far-reaching rural landscape views from key points in the building, not least the picture-frame dormer windows from the mezzanine level over the kitchen, and the glass gable ends. The solid verandas embed the new structure into the landscape, and new patios are excavated like sculptural 'negative spaces' to create lower protected enclaves for various functions, without blocking views from the main entertaining areas.

Creating a sense of journey through the landscape. The large natural swimming pool helps cool the air around this central space. The guest house and garage flank the other sides of the inner courtyard, and the final elements enclosing this central area are the kitchen garden and orchard. Spinning on its axis around this central space, the house feels like a functional revolution of spaces which work in harmony to create a living environment befitting of this family.

The rolled roof of the living quarters echos a barn typology whereas the more subdued additions of the garage and guesthouse take on flat green roof elements that allow these structures to take a back seat and blend into the landscape, allowing the main structures of the existing house and extension building to take centre stage, keeping a sense of balance to the design rather than overloading the site with too many strong visual elements.

The guesthouse floats above the landscape on posts and is comprised of a fully CLT primary structure (slab, walls and roof), celebrated with its exposure to the interior. The materiality celebrates an honesty of structure and natural materials along with hand crafted textures for the rendered wall finishes and steel troweled concrete.

A large structure with a human scale. Intended as a sanctuary after a long day of physical labour in the harsh environment.