Design Destination | Shearer’s Quarters by Wardle Studio
Situated on a 440-acre farming property on Tasmania’s Bruny Island, Wardle Studio’s award-winning ‘Shearer’s Quarters’ is now open to the public as a holiday destination.
Built in 2011, the home sits as a companion to an existing historic cottage on a working sheep farm, owned and operated by Wardle Studio founding architect John Wardle and his family. Now, over ten years later, the family are opening the doors to guests, providing the opportunity to experience one of the most southern and unfrequented spots in Australia.
The building emulates the old shearing shed that once stood on the site, with a slim structure and a roof that transitions from a slender skillion on one side to a broad gable on the other. A minimal palette of corrugated galvanised iron externally and timber boards internally maintains the essence of a modern farmhouse while providing protection from the climate. The bedrooms are lined in recycled apple box crates sourced from the old orchards of the Huon Valley, while the flooring is recycled Yellow Stringybark. The chimney, constructed from old handmade clay bricks, reflects the three original fireplaces in the existing cottage.
In order to optimise the ocean views, Wardle Studio designed a rectangular floorplan that broadens at its east end, accommodating both the verandah and the open-plan kitchen-dining-living space. The building becomes increasingly narrow as you travel west down the corridor, passing a neatly tucked powder on one side, a laundry-bathroom space and two bedrooms on the other, and at the furthest end, a bunk room.
Fundamentally, Shearer’s Quarters is designed to respond to its environment, with sustainability at its core. “In many ways, this project represents a return to the Australian vernacular; it is inherently more sustainable than many contemporary forms of construction,” John says. The building reduces its impact on the land with a small footprint of 136 square metres, a material palette composed of recycled materials, an on-site wastewater treatment plantation, a rainwater tank and solar heating. In addition, its low-lying form provides shelter from prevailing winds, its openable vents and louvres allow for controlled cross ventilation during summer, and its double glazing and advanced insulation reduce heat loss during winter.