Moree in far northern NSW is Tony Beattie’s home town. An intimate understanding of the climate and building practices gave Tony the opportunity to engage with the architectural heritage of the region, and to reinterpret vernacular housing.
Built on a 1200 metre site, sheltered by a metre wide eave and supported on 28 steel columns creating a sheltered undercroft space, this building is an environmentally responsive descendant of the ‘Queenslander’.
The site faces east and west predominantly, has two street frontages and is bordered either side by elevated houses. Each semi-detached townhouse is 150 square metres internally and has three bedrooms, two bathrooms as well as a generous 4 metre cantilevered balcony. A design feature of the building is the comfortable upper floor living spaces with shaded work, play and garden spaces at the ground level.
Most external surfaces are made from COLORBOND® steel, which was chosen to provide strength, speed of construction and low maintenance. The dark corrugated walls present a seamless horizontally textured surface to reduce the glare of the sunlight. Roofs and undercrofts are a lighter colour to reflect light.
The heat generated by the dark building in a notoriously hot climate is dealt with via the building’s shell, which incorporates high performance windows, cavities, insulation and active venting systems. The building endures extreme conditions and provides an adjustable comfortable environment.
“Jury Citation - The 2015 NSW Country Division Award for Multiple Housing.”
In this dual occupancy project, Beattie Co Architects have produced an elegant and innovative solution for multiple housing within a regional context. The site design strategies of dwellings orientated away from each other, raised above common open space gardens, allows the building choice and privacy within a subtly complex envelope. The building form is a successful reinterpretation of the traditional raised dwelling of the tropical Queenslander with a contemporary expression of structure, materiality and colour. Beyond this particular site, the project represents a model of housing that through increase density and economic construction could make a significant impact on housing affordability and quality in regional areas.