The great wall
Luigi Rosselli architects
North Western Australia
With its thermal mass, this construction of rammed earth and gravel provides lodgings for seasonal cowherds.

Stretching 230 meters, what is the longest wall of rammed earth in Australia and maybe even in the southern hemisphere meanders along the edge of a sand dune to close off twelve earth-covered dwellings. With facades 450 mm thick and with sand behind forming the roofs, the rooms benefit from the best thermal mass possible, with naturally cool temperatures in a subtropical climate. The project was a finalist in the Western Australia Architecture Awards given by the Australian Institute of Architects.

 

The twelve units are used as temporary accommodations in a cattle station during the mustering season, and there are communal areas that include a room for the cowherds to meet in and a chapel for worship.

 

The construction is centered on the wall of compressed earth made of iron-rich sandy clay, a predominant material in the place, which is bound together with gravel from the nearby river and water from a local bore hole.

 

Straying from the model of corrugated metal shelters, the design of The Great Wall of WA represents a new approach to remote northwestern Australia architecture.

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