Narrogin Cottage Homes

A therapeutic home for dementia patients at Narrogin Hospital, 2 hours south-west of Perth, WA.
Project Name
Narrogin Dementia Ward- Narrogin Hospital, WA, by SPH Architects
Case Study Type

Williams Road
Narrogin WA 6312

Photographer Details
Robert Frith


SPH Architecture sought to conceptualise the wide open plains of Narrogin’s rural landscape into the fabric of this health care building. 

-32.9364172, 117.1668815


Recycled wharf and bridge piers and plantation timbers not only enhanced the building design, but were used extensively throughout the project for their inherent sustainable features and their aesthetic properties. 

Columns, beams and trusses were constructed largely from recycled spotted gum timbers. The history of the timbers previous life can be seen in the structure, adding a depth of character to the space. 

The supplier of the timber was able to issue a Full Post Consumer Recycled Certificate, which ensured the recycled material is actually recycled timber. The product went through quality checks/processing and removal of foreign matter (nails and bolts etc), which is necessary for the product to meet the Green Building Council of Australia industry recycled green standards. 

Recycled timbers where chosen for their stored carbon "for life".  The timbers life cycle intially began 60-70 years ago when they where due for felling. The trees where then milled and used in bridges and wharves for approx 60 - 70 years before being re-milled for use in the Narrogin project for (hopefully) another 70 yrs. 

The architects were able to have much of the timber elements pre-cut and fabricated off site, which lowered transportation loads and on site wastage. The building design then allows for the deconstruction of the timbers in the future when the buildings lifespan is achieved, creating potential for further uses ongoing. The bolt connections can be undone quickly and easily. 

Besides the recycled timber, plantation grown timber for WA managed forests was also specified for the roof structure. Plantation pine limits the destruction of old growth forests and reduction in carbon footprint of the project materials from the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. With this carbon 'locked up' for the life of the wood it was used in the building to help offset global greenhouse gas emissions. 


External timber slatting, internal bench tops and bespoke reception area furniture was coated with low VOC Intergrain for indoor/outdoor applications to withstand Narrogin's weather conditions

Verandahs were constructed from spotted gum, with privacy screens also made from spotted gum timber battens. The Bush Fire Attack Level (BAL) required fire retardant timber species use externally therefore spotted gum was chosen for its fire resistant nature to meet BCA requirements.


The occupants experience the raw structural form of the building as they progress through into the central hearth and heart of their home. 

Large recycled structural beams, columns and trusses piece together gradually and sequentially creating a repetition and rhythm to the internal atmosphere. A timber ceiling wraps from a datum along the wall to create a wave of warmth overhead, enhancing a sense of wellness and home for the residents.

FSC certified spotted gum acoustic timber paneling was used extensively in the large volume entry areas as well as spotted gum timber veneer acoustic paneling (PEFC certified) in corridors to enhance sound absorption.

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