Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We use cookies to personalise your experience; learn more in our Privacy and Cookie Policy. You can opt out of some cookies by adjusting your browser settings; see the cookie policy for details. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies.

Shearers' Quarters in Bruny Island, Australia by John Wardle Architects

AR House 2012 Runner Up: Set on a working sheep farm, Shearers’ Quarters draws on rural and industrial archetypes


Among the many submissions for rural or vacation houses, Shearers’ Quarters, on the southernmost tip of Tasmania, clearly caught the jury’s eye. Set on a working sheep farm, however, this is no romantic idyll. Built on the site of an old shearing shed destroyed by fire in the 1980s, the new house overlooks a coastal panorama and sits as a companion to an existing historic cottage constructed by the original landowner, Captain James Kelly, who acquired the property in 1840.

The land is now owned and worked by the Wardle family and the new house is intended to host shearers and rural contractors, as well as family, friends and staff of John Wardle architects.

6_site_plan_01Site Plan

The plan transforms along its length, shifting its profile from that of a slender skillion at its western end, to a broad gable at its east end. This exposition of two primary forms of vernacular agricultural structures allows the plan to align exactly with both the fall of the land to the south and the line of the original residence along its north side.

The inset veranda on the north edge shifts alignment with the ridge to line up exactly with the veranda of the original house. This transformation also allows the building to broaden at its eastern corner to encompass the living area, which flares out and opens up to the ocean views.


Alluding to the agricultural context, corrugated galvanised iron is used for the cladding and timber (notably pine) for the interior. Many materials are recycled; bedrooms, for instance, are lined with old applebox crates. A responsive approach to environmental issues is manifest throughout, from the siting of the house (sheltered from prevailing winds), to openable louvres and vents for natural ventilation.

Rainwater is harvested for drinking, lavatories and showers, and waste water is treated on site and used to irrigate a small native plantation. The jury admired the innate sense of poetic rusticity coupled with a beautifully precise approach to detailing and materials.

6_section_01Long Section


Architect: John Wardle Architects
Interior designer: Jeff Arnold
Kitchen appliances: Smeg
Bathroom fittings: Zucchetti
Photographs: Trevor Mein




Related files

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.