Little Granite House was designed from the outset to sit within its Wooragee environment in Victoria’s High Country.
The rural home needed to shelter its inhabitants (a family of five) from the extremes of the weather (with temperatures ranging from -5°C to 45°C), while allowing them to connect with the surrounding environment and its seasonal patterns.
BRD Studio designed and built the home in reference to the surrounding agricultural infrastructure ‘so as to not take precedence over its environment, instead forming a homologous relationship with the preexisting structures,’ says Tim Smith, architect and director of BRD Studio. ‘This was achieved through composition of a simple gable shape with extraction of elements to create apertures for outdoor life.’
Materials were selected to rescede into the landscape while taking into account their local availability, bushfire protection, shading, maintenance requirements, and ability to patina over time.
Galvanised steel cladding was chosen to provide durability and coherence with the environment, complemented by cypress macrocarpa accents sourced from CERES Fair Wood in Melbourne. Over time, the external galvanised metal and local timber cladding will patina to further settle the home within the natural rhythms of the site.
Internally, the shining gum timber on the bedroom, hallway and entrance floors was grown 40 kilometres from the site on a sustainably managed plantation. Local granite aggregate also features in the polished concrete slab in reverence to the granite boulders found across the property.
Little Granite House has a deliberately compact 100 square metre floor plan (smaller than half the average floor area of a new Australian home) for the clients who appreciate the beauty of simplicity.
The property’s environmental credentials are enhanced by passive design features such as double-glazed windows, efficient appliances, deep wall frames for increased insulation, and appropriate thermal breaks between the thermal mass elements to minimise heat loss in the depths of winter.
The home achieves a 7.3 NatHERS rating and operates off grid powered by a 13.2kW solar system and 28kWh of battery storage. Rainwater harvesting ensures the property is completely self-sufficient.
Little Granite House was completed in 2022 and the clients say the home has far exceeded their expectations.
‘Despite the home being “small” compared to current mainstream building trends, it by no means feels small,’ say the owners. ‘Our favourite aspect of our new home is the feeling of being part of our environment.’