Architect: Luigi Rosselli
Builder: Jaxon Construction
Windows & Screening: Alutech
Building of the Year 2016 Winner
The Great Wall of WA represents a fresh and innovative image for the Pilbara, a region seeking to transform itself from a place synonymous with the mining resources boom to a place where the iron rich soil becomes a tool to create a serene coexistence between human activity and the landscape. Utilising local clay and water and gravel sourced from a nearby river, the rammed earth with its unique cooling properties provides a perfect solution to counter the effects of the harsh Pilbara climate when combined with the underground location of the buildings
230 Metres of Rammed Earth Wall
The longest rammed earth wall in Australia and – probably – the southern hemisphere.
At 230 metres long, the rammed earth wall meanders along the edge of a sand dune and encloses twelve earth covered residences, created to provide short-term accommodation for a cattle station during mustering season. With their 450mm thick rammed earth facade and the sand dune to their rear and forming their roofs, the residences have the best thermal mass available, making them naturally cool in the subtropical climate.
The rammed earth wall (construction) is composed of the iron rich, sandy clay that is a dominant feature of the site, gravel obtained from the adjacent river and (bonded with) water from the local bore (hole).
The design of the accommodation represents a new approach to remote North Western Australia architecture, moving away from the sun baked, thin corrugated metal shelters to naturally cooled architectural earth formations.