Location: NSW hinterland
Awards: Custom Built House of the Year 2009 HIA National Housing Awards Houses Over 450sqm in the 2009 BDA NSW Design Awards Commendation for Environmentally Sustainable Buildings in the 2009 BDA NSW Design Awards
Set in the rolling hills of the NSW hinterland, the awarding winning Yarrabee Homestead is an advanced design for a mine subsidence affected area.
The area provided a challenge for building designer, Dick Clarke from Envirotecture, as the ground surface was prone to fall or rise, move horizontally, tilt or cause cracking, leading to potential impacts on the building.
Thought to be the first high thermal mass building of its kind in an area affected by mine subsidence, the homestead contributes to good environmental design and construction by using COLORBOND® steel as a building product.
Clarke was approached to design the new homestead on the existing cattle stud that incorporated guest accommodation as well as the corporate headquarters for the owner's business. Additionally, the building was to be passively heated and cooled and entirely self sufficient for water and energy.
Clarke successfully ensured that Yarrabee Homestead met all the criteria and, subsequently, it has a 7.0 Star thermal performance rating and is water neutral as it has rainwater harvesting and waste water recycling capabilities. The property also boasts energy efficient cooling and heating with only a small amount of wood burning needed for additional heating.
Since its completion, the Yarrabee Homestead has received many awards and was the winner of the Custom Built House of the Year category in the 2009 HIA National Housing Awards, winner for Houses Over 450sqm in the 2009 BDA NSW Design Awards and received a commendation for Environmentally Sustainable Buildings in the 2009 BDA NSW Design Awards.
As the homestead lies on a mine subsidence affected area the building had to be broken up into small, independently founded pavilions. The arced floor plan is slung like a cradle from a focal point up the slope where a Eucalypt Grandis has been planted as a long term 'lynch pin' where the radians of the floor plan spring from. The foundations are constructed from massive concrete pads sitting below and disconnected from the slabs. This means they can be jacked up in the event of future subsidence which is a standard Mine Subsidence Board requirement.
The walls are made from Timbercrete blocks, a mix of sawdust waste, sand and a small amount of cement and are solid internally and insulated externally. Adjacent to the walling, roofing made from COLORBOND® steel was chosen as it was the only material that could be used to create the curved roof form. Guttering made from COLORBOND® steel in the colour Bushland® is also featured. The use of COLORBOND® steel to create the form helps to maximise rainwater harvesting and bushfire resistance whilst also being low maintenance and durable.