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    Waste not, want not: Sawmill House by Archier
    Waste not, want not: Sawmill House by Archier
    Waste not, want not: Sawmill House by Archier
    Waste not, want not: Sawmill House by Archier
    Waste not, want not: Sawmill House by Archier
    Waste not, want not: Sawmill House by Archier
    Waste not, want not: Sawmill House by Archier
    Waste not, want not: Sawmill House by Archier
    Waste not, want not: Sawmill House by Archier
    Waste not, want not: Sawmill House by Archier

    Waste not, want not: Sawmill House by Archier

    Yackandandah VIC 3749

    It isn’t a flawless solution, nor is it meant to be, but Sawmill House by Archier architects demonstrates how Australia’s growing hoard of latent building materials can be used in new and innovative ways.

    Located on the site of an old sawmill which fell into remission in the late 90s, the house is the product of a client/architect relationship bound by blood but also liberated by a [mostly] shared creative vision and the added bonus of being able to develop the design over the course of construction.

    Archier’s Chris Gilbert worked with his brother Benjamin Gilbert (client/builder/sculptural artist) throughout the construction course of Sawmill House and what amounted was an end product that moves away from conventional design solutions and investigates in bespoke yet cost effective alternatives.

    The most glaring alternative is the use of recycled blocks, 270 in total, that form the perimeter walls and are made of waste-concrete from other projects in the region.  The blocks, nicknamed by Gilbert as “Waste Blocks”, weigh in at one tonne each and are produced locally from the by-product of the many residential slabs poured in the vicinity.

    “They are produced by the local concrete yard as a method of storing waste,” says Archier.

    “While perhaps not a holistic answer, it is hoped that this approach creates a house that contributes to a broader conversation surrounding concrete reuse and encourages investment and investigation into other latent assets.”

    Sawmill House is 100sqm and was only passed through council as caretaker’s cottage as the site is actually zoned for industrial.

    The blocks also ground the house to the site and their different colours and textures create a stacked layer effect that mimics the site’s industrious history.

    As the architects put it:

    “[The blocks] create a patchwork of colour and texture across the facades, as each block has a story - a bridge, a footpath, a home. This texture grounds the building in the site, as the layers of colour mimic the sedimentary layers of earth still exposed from the site’s former life as a gold mine.”

    Beyond the concrete blocks is a functional and operational home that features many a bespoke element, designed specifically for the project and added as an accumulative solution along the project timeline.

    The architects note that this design-as-constructed approach was fostered by the client/architect agreement which began as a rough plan a year prior to the start of construction, then slowly developed into a design whilst physically working with the client onsite over the course of construction.

    Large sections of the roof and façade are mechanised which makes the envelope largely operable, allowing courtyards and natural light to be added and subtracted as the seasons warrant.  The home’s external decking area also cantilevers slightly out over the hill and down towards an old dam which can also be seen from the kitchen and living rooms thanks to the large spanning double glazed stacking doors.

    Other notable bespoke elements are the brass sheeting used throughout the kitchen for cabinetry, the hardwood floors made from recycled locally felled trees and the sliding and the "Highline" pendant lamps manufactured and designed by Archier.

    Sawmill House is currently being considered for the 2015 Victorian Architecture Awards in the Residential Architecture – Houses (New) category.

    PRODUCTS

    BRASS SHEET
    Supplier: George White Metal
    Product name: 0.3mm Brass Sheet C26000 Alloy 1/2 Hard Temper

    CONCRETE BLOCKS
    Supplier: Baxters Concrete
    Product name: Waste block

    EXTERIOR FOOTPATH GRATES
    Supplier: Metalcorp
    Product name: Webforge A Pattern untreated

    GLAZING 
    Supplier: Reflex Glass
    Product name: 6-12-6 Viridian double glazed units

    WINDOW FRAMES
    Supplier: Archier & Agency of Sculpture 
    Product name: Custom frames  

    SLIDING DOOR FRAMES
    Supplier: Archier & Agency of Sculpture 
    Product name: Custom frames

    PLYWOOD
    Supplier: Carter Holt Harvey
    Product name: Down grade 17mm C/D PLY

     SLAB INSULATION
    Supplier:  Clinka
    Product name: ClinkaFill

    TIMBER FLOORING & CEILING
    Supplier: Corsair Timbers
    Product names: Custom boards

    Key Info

    Architect: Archier
    Completed: 2014
    Size: 100sqm
    Photography: Benjamin Hosking
    Words: Nathan Johnson

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