The Carrickalinga Shed by Architects Ink is a distinctive interpretation of the classic Australian Federation Farmhouse. Located on a hilltop overlooking a 55-acre former dairy farm, the dwelling reinterprets the traditional form to suit the harsh realities of the Australian landscape.

The original brief called for a 19th-century French farmhouse, but discussions with the clients revealed a deeper yearning – a modern home reminiscent of their childhood experiences on a Blue Mountains farm. This desire, coupled with a year spent camping on the site and experiencing its extreme weather patterns, shaped the final design.

Situated remotely with strong winds and bushfire risks, the design had to be functional and resilient. Architects Ink addressed this by manipulating the traditional farmhouse layout. They stretched the perimeter into a square and removed the centre to create a protected courtyard. This innovative approach provided a low-eave sheltered garden that maximised solar access in winter.

The focus on minimising environmental impact is evident throughout the project. The property is completely off-grid, generating its own power and water. Sustainable features include a 23kW solar system with a 45kW battery, high-performance glazing to regulate internal temperatures, and water-efficient fixtures. Additionally, traditional heritage galvanised corrugated iron clads the exterior walls and roof, while structural columns double as rainwater harvesting downpipes.

The architects achieved a beautiful balance between the familiar and the contemporary. The exterior, clad in corrugated iron, evokes the classic farmhouse aesthetic. Yet, the inverted roof with its low eave and the industrial shutters speak to a modern sensibility. The interior spaces are equally compelling.

White plaster walls and strategically placed fireplaces create a sense of understated elegance, while the open kitchen allows for a communal atmosphere. This approach aligns with the Japanese concept of creating neutral spaces for the occupants to personalise with their own character.

The Carrickalinga Shed is a testament to Architects Ink's ability to interpret tradition through a modern lens. By embracing sustainability and responding to the specific challenges of the site, they have created a unique and enduring home that sits harmoniously within its environment.