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DESCRIPTION The original Prairie Hotel at Parachilna - constructed from stone and corrugated iron - has been modified to provide four suites, refurbished, and extended with eight new suites and a function space. The building complements the high quality service and is appropriate to its location. The semi-desert conditions inspired the low-lying, lightweight and curved roof form of the new wing. This partially in-ground building has been designed to be "respectful" of the old building, to provide shading and thermal mass, to allow for easterly views of the ranges, and to nestle into the flat arid landscape. Internally cooled air is introduced near floor level and expelled through roof spaces in summer, a process that is reversed in winter. Water is solar heated and is used for space heating. The thermal mass of the walls and earth keep spaces comfortable, ensuring low energy use. Solar tubes cast natural light to bathrooms and the main passage. Roof overhangs are designed for summer shading and the building’s orientation admits winter sunlight into the northern rooms. Introduced materials include recycled timbers, stone, and cast iron columns. The function space, located above the junction of the old and new, mimics the form of the new wing with its shading wing-like roof.
JURY VERDICT The tiny town of Parachilna in South Australia is in semi-desert country with polychromatic eastern views of the near distant Flinders Ranges. Temperatures soar in summer and plummet in winter when winds cut to the bone. Adding a quality tourist accommodation wing to the town’s character-laden old stone pub called for an architecture that respected the building, the weather, a tanked water supply and power costs. The new wing is half sunk into the ground for natural insulation, takes advantage of other thermal mass techniques, and has lightweight insulated external walls, solid internal walls and deep shading roof overhangs. Heating is by air drawn through roof spaces during sunny days and by solar heated water exchangers in bedrooms. The solar hot water is continuously circulated through the rooms, with flow restructures ensuring minimal water consumption, and rainwater tanks are underground tanks. Cooling is by evaporative air coolers and ceiling fans.
Prairie Hotel, Parachilna Project Architect John Maitland. Project Team Michael Chaplin. Developer Graham & Tasker. Electrical Consultant Carrier Air Conditioning. Interior Designer Kaye Hyland Interiors. Builder Cox Constructions. Photography Bart Maiorana.