Coopworth

good-design-award_best-in-class_rgb_blk_logo
  • 2022

  • Architectural

Designed By:

  • FMD Architects

Commissioned By:

Client

Designed In:

Australia

Nestled in the rural surrounds of Bruny Island, Tasmania, Coopworth is a contemporary interpretation of a country farmhouse. Through playful forms and an inventive approach to materials, Coopworth tactfully converses with the ever-changing landscape of Coopworth sheep, wide-ranging views, and weathering red lead shacks dotted over the island.


view website

Image: Dianna Snape
Image: Dianna Snape
Image: Dianna Snape
Image: Dianna Snape
Image: Dianna Snape
Image: Dianna Snape
Image: Dianna Snape
Image: Dianna Snape
  • CHALLENGE
  • SOLUTION
  • IMPACT
  • MORE
  • Seeking a house that can accommodate 2-20 people, Coopworth carves opportunities to support the clients and their rural lifestyle. Rigorous understanding of the farm’s operations is reflected in hard-wearing treatments and custom elements, including elevated planters to protect foliage from sheep and ‘boot box’ to dust off before entering. Qualities of respite and relaxation sought by the clients are fostered through engagement with the landscape. Diverse spaces; lofty, snug, private, shared, allow the clients to occupy areas to best suit their needs. Coopworth is designed for universal access, with consideration of family with disabilities and the couple’s potential future needs.

  • The angular form and earthy hue of Coopworth’s exterior creates a synergy with the surrounding red lead shacks – a sympathetic contribution to the landscape. Gabled, hipped and skillion rooflines coalesce as abstracted silhouettes in homage to the ramshackle sheds and rugged mountain ranges. Coopworth is meticulously sited to capture breath-taking views of the bay, artfully framed by a steel structure and eastern deck brimming with grapevines. To the west, the ubiquitous chimney stack seen in the historic shacks is reimagined as a sunken bath, connecting the bather to the surrounding paddock and sheep, with long views to the bay beyond.

  • Coopworth effectively immerses the occupants in the rural landscape, creating a delightful experience of the land, and a bold departure from the clients’ suburban home in Melbourne. The house supports the clients in managing the farm, prioritising resilience and functionality, while minimising maintenance. Access to natural light and landscape gives excellent amenity, while the broad side deck encourages outdoor dwelling amongst the elements without obstructing views. The house nurtures the couple’s shared life, giving opportunity to host larger gatherings of friends and family with comfort and ease, while elevating the clients’ daily activities by mediating functionality and delight.

  • Coopworth’s footprint is consciously constrained to maximise arable land yet maintains generosity in its thoughtful internal arrangement. The contrast of lofty volumes and snug spaces is accentuated by a utilitarian palette of plywood linings and concrete floors, drawing focus to a dramatic ceiling lined with Coopworth wool from the property. Sealed with clear, polycarbonate corrugated sheeting, the wool enhances thermal performance while celebrating agricultural connections as an abstract wool fresco. The northern elevation establishes a rhythm of window niches, capturing views to the water and mountain ranges beyond. Frameless glazing is pushed to the edge of the floorplate to embrace wild winds and rains. Occupants are at once immersed in the weather and well protected from it. While designed to accommodate two principal occupants, the house can be opened up to host family and friends through creative interpretations of Australian verandah sleepouts and caravan bunk beds. Window bays are bordered with sunken beds; a camping-like arrangement nurturing familial connections. An attic-style mezzanine serves as study space and guest bedroom, while an additional plywood-lined bed is discreetly integrated amongst a wall of joinery. A wide sliding door to the master bedroom casts views through the length of the house, maximising scale.