Stramit products key in an award-winning project

News /
15 November 2016
Stramit Steel Products key in 2016 Australian Steel Institute Award-winning project – Crackenback Stables.

Nestled amongst the lush bushland and snow grass of the stunning Snowy Mountains, southern New South Wales, is the spectacular Crackenback Stables.

Designed by award-winning architecture firm Casey Brown Architecture and built by Bellevarde Constructions, Crackenback Stables has recently won the Steel Excellence in Steel Clad Structures Award at the 2016 Australian Steel Institute Awards. Adding to the already impressive award line-up which includes the AIA NSW Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture, a Commendation at the 2016 AIA NSW Residential Architecture - Houses (New) and being a 2016 THE PLAN Award Finalist.

A design feat of epic proportions, Crackenback Stables perfectly echoes the ethos of architecture firm Casey Brown, “we design in direct response to climate, topography and lifestyle,” says Rob Brown, co-founder and principal designer of Casey Brown Architecture. “This perspective creates a preference for lasting architecture of unpretentious functionalism, characterised by a richness of palette and detail throughout. “

Comprising of horse stables and caretakers accommodation on the ground floor, the luxury and contemporary sheds also includes a self-contained owner’s residence above the stables and a machinery shed in the adjacent building. “The stable is set perpendicular to the adjacent machinery shed, forming a barrier from the winter winds,” explains Brown. “The entire form of this stable complex is clad in corrugated galvanised steel that wraps as a continuous skin up the walls of the building and over the roof.”

With this key feature of corrugated galvanised steel roofing supplied by Stramit – one of the leading Australian manufacturers of roll-formed steel building products – the end elevations, holding yards and the breezeway spaces of the stables features eye-catching weathered steel panelling in rich, ochre tones, “This provides both a contrast to the corrugated iron as well as, effectively grounding the building within the natural colours of its bushland setting,” says Rob Brown. “This take on the Australian vernacular gives new life and refinement to the classic corrugated shed.”

Fitted by Precon Metal Roofing, Stramit’s corrugated steel as the primary cladding material has been aligned to the roof planes, which further emphasise the building’s trapezoidal form, explains Brown. “A large portal cut through this trapezoid frames the view to the landscape beyond, and provides a practical space for activities such as preparing for a horse ride and storing firewood, as well as providing a dry entry to the building,” says Brown.

Brown describes the initial client brief as setting the tone for its design and construction. The client stated that he wanted a simple building, but beautifully detailed. “We explored the varying ways one can utilise steel to further design intent, while providing a climatically and aesthetically response building,” he says.

In an area known for large natural snowfalls every winter and strong wind, the Snowy Mountains also experiences warm summer weather, so the use of strong, long- lasting materials was paramount. “The durable materials will endure for years to come, becoming a part of the bushland in which it resides,” says Brown. Additionally, with the distinct feature of limited roof overhang, the effect of snow and strong wind is lessened, while improved fire protection is given. The completely concealed and protected gutters, help to lessen the possibility of ember attack and can collect rainwater for use in the stables with ease.

On the southern side of the building square, pivoting windows pierce the façade, providing light and ventilation. Set in a custom Stramit galvanised steel frame that protects against rain and sun, providing shading to the otherwise eaveless building. On the northern side, large windows welcome sunlight and warmth, while a large trapezoidal opening to the upstairs recessed verandah offers stunning view of the mountain range. 

A true work of art utilising the hardy properties and creative freedom of steel, unique features include a system of sliding custom perforated steel panels in the ground floor residence that act as a high tech fly mesh, allowing air movement through the space. Internally, detailed custom metalwork addresses the building’s functional purpose as a stable with each stable door designed as a series of compartmentalised parts, comprising of steel strips and a perforated mesh behind. A bespoke steel ‘horse proof’ locking mechanism completes the door.

In keeping with the hardiness of the design, steel and concrete were used as the primary interior materials. In the living areas, timber joinery adds a sense of refinement and warmth softening the space.

As Brown concludes, “Crackenback Stables is a veritable exploration of the possibilities of steel itself, both as a material of structure and one of immense architectural beauty.”

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