Tarara is an off-grid home that was only finished last year yet feels timeless. Tarara, Ararat spelt backwards, pays homage to one of our client's family's origin, achieves this through a holistic design that references the evolution of a typical Australian farmstead through the use of materials suggestive of time, age and weather. To accommodate our client's budgetary constraints the house was completed in two stages, allowing it to 'evolve over time', much like a typical Australian farmstead would have. Constructed first was the red brick guest accommodation, a two-storey, three bedroom dwelling. The simple design and choice of cladding materials (recycled brick and timber) suggest that it was a barn before being converted into a home. The second stage was the main house, incorporating ceiling heights that match those of the owners’ previous early 1900s home. Wide hallways and doorways (which are wheelchair-friendly) suggest that this too, is an old home - albeit with many modern comforts. The sense of time, age and evolution is reinforced by the structure that connects the main house to the guest accommodation, this sun-drenched 'conservatory' welcomes guests in all kinds of weather and is a haven for the owners’ collection of potted plants.
The inspiration and the ultimate location, orientation and design of the house was derived from the farm's natural energy, environment and local prevailing winds. Considerations to also incorporate were to capture the panoramic ocean views and make allowances for vehicle movement and access required for a working farm. The location of the house is sheltered from arctic south easterly winds by an existing strand of trees and the natural topography of the site protects the house from westerly winds which was verified by where the livestock used to gather for protection. The shape of the house has been articulated to provide protected external spaces on both the north and south sides of the house that can be utilised at different times of the year and during various wind and weather conditions. The house is composed to experience the immediate views of the farm and existing vegetation along with extended views of the coastline and seascape. Rooms were located to accentuate the inherent natural beauty of the surrounding landscape and picture windows were used to frame selected focal points. Many innovations were used, one of which was the SIPS construction technique. This 'structural insulated panel system' provides the structural element for walls, roofs, and suspended floors. The use of SIPS enabled superior eco-friendliness, acoustic and thermal comfort, fire and termite resistance, as well as an efficient construction procedure. Another innovation is our use of recycled materials wherever possible, especially in the kitchen which uses a lot of recycled timbers. The Chinese cabinet in the kitchen was converted to a functional appliance area. Abutting the kitchen is a versatile Butlers’ pantry, featuring recycled timber shelving and rolling ladder, allowing access to high shelves. We were privileged to work with these clients and help them achieve a successful outcome.