Yarramalong Residence

Winner – Residential Home over $2m, 2012 MBA Newcastle

The project is located in the Central Coast rural area of Yarramalong.  The site had no services connected and was required to be power (250m long mains) and water self-sustainable.

The driving principle of the dwelling was to provide a highly self-sustainable dwelling for two families to share.  Site slope, microclimatic conditions, termites, land slip and bushfire all impacted upon construction techniques and details.  The building consists of a central living and pool zone with bedroom wings either side for each family.

Water storage and recycling, and solar systems provide a series of sustainable solutions for long into the future.

The main design challenge related to the scale of the building and the associated construction methods.  A living room volume of church scale, provided numerous complexities in relation to structure with large scale elements requiring complex solutions for placement.

A heavy cross fall to the site required large span floor joists to be implemented in conjunction with a steel support frame for bushfire and termite control.  Similarly the requirement to maximise views from indoor spaces and balconies required the implementation of long span hardwood beams to external wall and balcony areas.

Timber has been used throughout, ranging from large scale bushfire retardant structural timbers (in Blackbutt) to the finer detailed flooring, decking, ceiling lining and joinery.  The ‘bones’ of the building consist of timber framed walls, joists and roof structure with several blockwork walls added for thermal mass.

Intricate stonework is implemented in key areas and provides a strong architectural identity.  The integration of the stone with balustrades, fireplaces and kitchen joinery presented many construction challenges.

Steel, timber and masonry junctions required careful consideration relating to building movement, waterproofing and air leakage.