Text by Casey Brown Architecture.
High amongst bushland and snow grass in the beautiful Snowy Mountains reside these contemporary Australian sheds. Their undulating forms echoing the mountain backdrop. The stable is set perpendicular to the adjacent machinery shed, forming a barrier from the winter winds.
A large portal through the stables frames the view to the landscape beyond, and provides a practical space for preparing for a horse ride, unpacking a car, storing firewood, as well as a dry entry to the building. This portal also serves to divide the building into its separate components – on one side, the live-in farm manager’s accommodation. On the other, five horse stables, associated workshops, feed rooms and tack rooms. A separate entry leads up to a two bedroom self-contained accommodation above the stables.
The silvery form of the stables is clad in corrugated iron, which wraps in a continuous surface up the walls of the building, and over the roof. The alignment of the corrugations is parallel to the roof pitch, emphasising the trapezoidal form.
On the southern edge of the building small square pivoting windows puncture the façade, breaking the wall plane, and providing light and ventilation. On the northern façade, large windows admit light and warmth. A large trapezoidal opening to the upstairs recessed verandah gives a spectacular view out to the mountain range.
The stables open onto holding yards on the northern side, where horses can be brought to prepare for a ride. The holding yards, breezeway portal and end elevations are all finished in the rich ochre tones of weathered steel, bringing warmth to the building, and protecting the building from bushfire. The interior finishes are robust and agricultural, with steel and concrete being the primary materials. In the living areas, timber joinery is introduced adding a sense of refinement to and softening the spaces.
The polished concrete flooring and exposed ceilings serve the additional function of bringing warmth to the building. A wood-fired boiler heats water which is circulated through the slabs, providing comfort during the snowy winter weather. During this cold time of the year, the building provides protection to the horses, and comfortable accommodation close to the nearby ski fields.
The distinct form of the building with its eave-less design assuages issues of this extreme climate such as snow and wind loading, as well as providing improved bushfire protection. Concealed recessed verandahs, and deep window reveals help protect the building against summer sun. The building also features neatly concealed and protected gutters, which collect rainwater into large tanks for use throughout the building and across the property. Waste from the building is all processed naturally onsite. The exposed concrete and masonry walls internally provide thermal mass to mediate against diurnal variation, mitigating the hottest and coolest parts of the day.
This take on the Australian vernacular gives new life and refinement to the classic corrugated shed. The durable materials will endure for years to come, becoming a part of the bushland in which it resides.