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Norfolk Farm is a small property located in a rural hamlet in the South West of Western Australia, belonging to a semi-retired couple and shared, on occasion, with their adult children.

This house adjoins a series of existing functional farm sheds used for painting, shearing and maintenance. The guiding design idea grew out of these ubiquitous three-sided structures – planned to face away from the strong prevailing winds of this part of the country.  The house wraps around two sheltered and sheltering courtyards out of the wind, the rain and the sun. It is a study of pure geometry with spaces created through conceptual incision and carving.

From beneath the square roof plate at the heart of the project, a series of interior and exterior spaces have been carved to maximise the range of connections to the landscape and effectively create a one bedroom dwelling. To the south-east of this core a secondary, north facing, (half a) “farmhouse” has been built containing 3 bedrooms and an additional bathroom.

The material palette is generated from the robust existing sheds but given new meaning and relationship to the landscape through the combination of complimentary and bright reds and green as well as the lush golds of the joinery and cladding.

Despite its modest footprint, the house is easily able to accommodate fluctuating numbers because of its ability to expand and contract. It can operate as a one bedroom, one bathroom house or extend to add another three bedrooms and an additional bathroom.  This allows for flexible living conditions as well as a degree of intimacy with the landscape.

The golden tones and banding of the cladding mimic the surrounding trees. Colour used in the roof cut outs frame the sky and casts a colourful glow that draws out these colours from the native planning that surrounds the house.

The house doesn’t require vast amounts of energy to moderate its temperature due to careful planning, north facing glazing and deep sheltered spaces that protect the interior from the heat of the day. Cross ventilation in all spaces means rooms can be quickly purged when the house is opened at weekends after being locked up for the week. In addition, there is a heat pump hot water system, wood fired heating (that uses fallen timber from the farm) and recycled floor and decking remilled from construction site waste.

This project received a Residential Architecture Award at the 2012 AIA Awards and a High Commendation at the 2011 Houses Awards.