Winner of the People’s Choice award | Crackenback House


The brief

To design a practical, working farmhouse, simple in form with modest materials, all inexpensive yet beautifully detailed and executed. It would be the latest of three modern farm buildings on the property, including the stables, manager’s quarters and a machinery shed.

Design outcomes

Externally, materials including corrugated steel, rusted steel and concrete were selected to withstand the extreme conditions such as snowstorms and bushfires. The rustic exterior of the home conceals a modern concrete interior — a detailed, rich material palette of polished concrete, tallowwood ceilings and black metal. The interior finishes are raw and robust, with steel and concrete being the primary materials.

Buildings are heated with a wood-burning hydronic system powered by a solar array that heats water circulated through the slabs, providing comfort during the snowy winter weather. The exposed concrete and masonry walls internally provide thermal mass to mediate against diurnal variation, mitigating the hottest and coolest parts of the day. Rainwater is collected into large tanks for use throughout the building and across the property.

Intrinsic to the plan is the central sculptural off-form concrete stair, lit from above with coloured skylights and acting as a pivot to the entry, garage, upper living, and lower bedroom levels.

Editor’s favourite

How the design of the home fits perfectly with the previously constructed 2016 AIA award-winning Crackenback stables and shed.


Location: Thredbo, New South Wales
Architect: Casey Brown Architecture
Construction: Bellevarde Constructions
Photography: Michael Nicholson

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