The Great Wall of Western Australia

The Great Wall, Western Australia Residences, Buildings, Design, Housing, Architect, Architecture, Images

The Great Wall

Short-Term Accommodation, Western Australia – design by Luigi Rosselli

18 Jul 2016 + 21 Sep 2015

The Great Wall of Western Australia

Location: North Western Australia

Design: Luigi Rosselli Pty Ltd – Architects

TERRA Award 2016 – The Great Wall of WA wins TERRA ‘earthen architecture’ prize.

The Great Wall of SW

Under the chair of 2012 Pritzker architecture prize laureate, Wang Shu, the jury of the TERRA Award selected the winners of this prize, the first of its kind dedicated to recognising excellence the field of contemporary earthen architecture design and construction, in Lyon on Thursday 14 July as part of the twelfth TERRA World Congress Conference.

The Great Wall of SW

The Great Wall of SW

These UNESCO supported awards encompassed categories from single residential houses to schools, cultural and public buildings and works of art, and the eight Laureates, drawn from countries as diverse as Spain, Morocco and China, included Australian project, The Great Wall of WA.

The Great Wall of SW

230 Metres of Rammed Earth Wall

The longest rammed earth wall in Australia and – probably – the southern hemisphere, has been selected as a finalist in the (Australian Institute of Architects) Western Australia architecture awards.

Great Wall of Western Australia
Rammed earth extracted from the local clay pans, pebbles and gravel quarried from the river bed are the palette of materials that blend into the landscape. The pavilion at the top is the multi-functional hub, meeting room and chapel

At 230 metres long, the rammed earth wall meanders along the edge of a sand dune and encloses twelve earth covered residences, created to provide short-term accommodation for a cattle station during mustering season. With their 450mm thick rammed earth facade and the sand dune to their rear and forming their roofs, the residences have the best thermal mass available, making them naturally cool in the subtropical climate.

Great Wall of Western Australia
The oval chapel overlooks a family cemetery and ghost and river gums that line the riverbank in the background

Great Wall of Western Australia
The residences are stepped to maintain a level of privacy on each covered veranda. There are contiguous but are not internally linked. The rear walls of the residences are buried under the sand dune

Great Wall of Western Australia
The northern end of the rammed earth wall tapers down to where an older building is used as a communal meeting and sitting area. A pergola constructed of old drilling pipes provides a chequerboard of dappled light

The rammed earth wall (construction) is composed of the iron rich, sandy clay that is a dominant feature of the site, gravel obtained from the adjacent river and (bonded with) water from the local bore (hole).

Great Wall of Western Australia
The deep awning roof is designed to keep the sun out during the hottest part of the day and invite the inhabitant to outside and enjoy the cool evening breeze

Great Wall of Western Australia
Internally, one finds a comfortable environment, cooled by the rammed earth walls and the metre deep sand hill. The interior design by Sarah Foletta is a restrained, natural and robust selection of materials and furniture

Great Wall of Western Australia
The centrally located chapel also forms the apex of the sand hill. Originally conceived as an open structure, sliding curved glass windows were later added to provide protection from dust storms

The design of the accommodation represents a new approach to remote North Western Australia architecture, moving away from the sun baked, thin corrugated metal shelters to naturally cooled architectural earth formations.

Great Wall of Western Australia
Below the chapel lies a hundred year old cemetery, enclosed by a simple fence to keep the local fauna out

Great Wall of Western Australia
The roof is made from Cor-Ten steel sheets, forming an oblique cone and culminating with a skylight in the apex. The roof was fabricated off site and transported in two halves

Great Wall of Western Australia
Gold annodised aluminium sheets line the ceiling of the ‘chapel’, cyclonic rated, curved sliding windows can close the pavilion to protect its interior from dust storms

The Great Wall of Western Australia – Building Information

Location: North Western Australia
Design Architect: Luigi Rosselli
Project Architects: Kristina Sahlestrom, Edward Birch, David Mitchell
Interior Designer: Sarah Foletta
Builder: Jaxon Construction http://www.jaxon.net.au/
Rammed Earth Contractor: Murchison Stabilised Earth Pty Ltd
Structural Consultant: Pritchard Francis http://www.pfeng.com.au/
Environmental Consultant: Floyd Energy http://floydenergy.com.au/
Photographs © Edward Birch

Great Wall of Western Australia
A glass covered oculus, oriented east and inspired by the Pantheon of Rome, maintains a celestial connection

Great Wall of Western Australia
© Edward Birch

The Great Wall of Western Australia images / information from Luigi Rosselli Pty Ltd – Architects


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