7th February 2014

Shearers Quarters

Viridian's return visit to Bruny Island, Tasmania – and a house that hasn’t sagged under the weight of huge acclaim. A precursor to the Fairhaven Beach House and equally tuned to its remarkable setting – John Wardle Architects, Shearers Quarters.  Shearers-Quarters1 The aptly-named property ‘Waterview’ is a working sheep farm of 440 hectares operated by the Wardle family for 11 years. Their rehabilitation of landscape is impressive enough with some 150 hectares reserved for conservation purposes and more than 7,000 indigenous trees planted. The new house Quarters is located on the site of an old shearing shed destroyed by bushfire in the 1980s. “It’s not just a shed, but about habitation. The out-of-form plan is pretty much as first documented. Every room dimension, door and window all sit within a modular 750mm grid pronounced in the timber joints cut specially throughout the house. Everything follows this fundamental measure,” says Wardle. Shearers-Quarters2 Of special significance is the relationship to an 1840 cottage built for Captain James Kelly as part of a Colonial land grant. Earthy, indigenous materials including timber, steel and Viridian performance glazing form a highly convincing connection to place. The new building defers to the old cottage strengthening the other in the process. A painterly appreciation of vista appears to draw closer a dam immediately south, rolling hills and bay to the south-east and a vast window wall to the east. Other windows and breezeways are artfully concealed – a joyful blend of design detail and meticulous carpentry. Vast sliding glass walls, fixed windows and operable timber panels frame gallery like views. “This accuracy is very pronounced in every detail, door and frame. When we discovered how good the carpentry was we asked them to do more.” Shearers-Quarters A modest 136m2 footprint sees the structure nestled on the hillside for shelter from prevailing winds. Operable vents and louvres allow for controlled cross ventilation during summer. Viridian performance double-glazed units, and insulation to floors, walls and ceiling, reduce heat loss during the winter months. Recycled materials include original hand-made bricks for the chimney, timber flooring and apple-box timber walls. Water is solar heated with a wood heater for year round occupancy.  To download the full article and interview click here Register your email address (above right) to receive email notifications for future GlassTalks articles – or visit http://viridianglass.com/evision/Pages/default.aspx to sign up to our monthly E-Vision bulletin. Photography by Peter Hyatt & Jennifer Hyatt