Kyogle steel house

An uptown country house with a unique architectural design that: embraces eco-principles, is low maintenance and economical, and has its own habitat garden.



Tessadelle house is organised into two linear blocks. One contains the living areas whilst the other the bedrooms. Separating the two blocks is the foyer. Upon entering the house, a visitor either chooses the north south passage along the bedrooms or the east west axis towards the open planned living areas.

The bedroom block contains the master bedroom with ensuite and dressing room. Two other bedrooms and the main bathroom are also located off the north south passage.

The living area block contains the open planned lounge, dining and kitchen areas. At the end of the axis is a guest bedroom, laundry and wc.

There is undercover parking with hardstand for 2 cars underneath the house.

Orientation (passive solar design)

The arrangement of the two building elements enables the house to respond to the property’s orientation. Firstly, the living areas stretch along the east west axis thus maximising orientation to the north and minimises the western frontage. Northern windows with wide overhangs bring in controlled amounts of winter sun and light whilst limiting the penetration of summer sun. A large roof overhang and deck protect against the reduced exposure to the west.

Similarly, the bedroom block, aligned with the contours of the land and also with wide overhangs, is orientated south west behind existing thick tree foliage. This will minimise afternoon summer sun. It also provides early morning north eastern sun exposure to the master bedroom.


Both building blocks gain elevated views across the district. The living areas look across the township and river flats of Kyogle and towards the distant Macpherson Ranges. The bedrooms look down the southern end of Rous Street through well established leafy trees.

Ecologically sustainable development (ESD)

In addition to the passive solar design of the building, there are a number of other design features which reduce water and energy usage.

In Summer, the narrow depth of each building wing naturally increases cross ventilation whilst ensuring natural light penetrates into all areas of the building. Together with the sun controlling measures discussed earlier, the need for air conditioning and artificial lighting is reduced. So too does the extensive insulation in the wall, floor and roof planes, and special ‘low E’ glass to windows naturally control temperature transference between outside and in.

Water use reduction is also incorporated into the design through the use of a rainwater tank, not only for exterior irrigation but also for clothes washing in the laundry and toilet flushing generally. When rainwater is not available, all plumbing will automatically divert back to the town water supply. All toilets, taps and showerheads shall be 3# rated or greater.

Solar panels will be located on the roof to feed back electricity into the grid. Low energy use lighting and solar heated hot water supply will also contribute to energy conservation.

In addition to the incorporation of ESD principles in the home, an energy efficient and fully ducted reverse-cylcle air conditioning will be provided for those extreme weather days.

Construction, framing and materials

The house will be elevated onto a number of post and beam platforms to span the fall of the land and to minimise excavation. A series of elevated living areas will capture district views, cool breezes and create useable, under cover parking beneath. Given the clay soils in the area and the ever present threat of termite attack, the whole of the structural system, including walls and roof planes, will be constructed out of steel. To express this system externally and to enhance the linear forms of the house, the frame will be clad in metal of two contrasting tones. The result shall be a structurally and visually strong building that will be long lasting and easy to maintain.


The chosen structural system and its response to the site produces a distinct, linear appearance with the elongated building blocks linked together above the ground. Projecting decks and roof plans will enhance this interplay of planar elements. So too will the selection of mini orb cladding with its horizontal wave pattern.

To contrast with the metal and steel, timber decking and balustrades have been chosen to highlight and order the building’s appearance. Different coloured cladding has been chosen for a similar purpose.


The majority of street trees and greenery around the site has been retained to shade and soften the building. Similarly, an informal arrangement of largely local native species of trees and shrubbery are planted to create and enhance outdoor spaces … a habitat garden with mature trees above and an under-storey of native rainforest species below.


Free-standing house
4 x bedroom, 2.5 x bathroom, 2 x car spaces
15a Rous Street, Kyogle
Kyogle Council jurisdiction

Photography: peterendersbeephotography

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