Dorrigo, NSW

Gangara Park Seniors Housing

An environmentally autonomous contemporary senior’s development that is warm, safe and social.







  • LOCATION : Dorrigo
  • CATEGORY : Residential

An environmentally autonomous contemporary senior’s development that is warm, safe and social. Although all services were available on-site the client brief was to provide residents with a services autonomous dwelling that had no ongoing services bills. Power, water and sewer are all handled on-site.

The power system is a solar/battery hybrid that generates 20% more power than required selling this to the grid, 5% of use is purchased back from the grid (cost neutral) to offset the battery storage requirements. Water harvesting in an area with 1.5-2.0 metres of annual rainfall is basic common sense and the worm farm community sewage treatment system completes the services package.

 Raised kerb and gutters were avoided where possible for pedestrian mobility. All units are based on the platinum level equity access design guide to facilitate aging in place. All units are designed to have retrofitting of disabled facilities as required but not before. It is hoped the project will set a new benchmark in seniors housing.


Number of Units – 3 x 2 – bedroom independent living unit (ILU’s) display homes (stage one of 40 units)
Floor area Internal – 75 -130m2
Undercover Outdoor Area – 20 – 30m2
Climate – Cold (820m AHD). New development on large residential lot with rural views, Large lot residential
Thermal Rating – 7.5 – 8 star
Heating – Community hydronic heating system based on solar powered electric heat pump
Solar – Shared 36kW Grid feed/battery hybrid system (to be increased with further stages)
Water – Shared 120,000 litre tank with additional catchment from energy centre roof
Sewage management – Shared Worm Farm system with subsoil irrigation
Stormwater – Open swale drains, filtration landscape and retention basins

Climatic Response and Construction

Passive Solar – double glazed low-e aluminium (AWS/SGA)

140mm stud frame construction to facilitate additional insulation

Brick Veneer to denote entry’s and give weight to anchor the building

Blackbutt weatherboards define the outdoor entertainment areas where a tactile, warm, social space was desired

Custom orb cladding provides cost effective low maintenance cladding for the bulk of the building giving an Australian vernacular reference to the nearby rural sheds

Plasterboard ceiling R-5.5 bulk and blanket insulation and custom orb roofing

Insulated polished ground slabs (carpet to bedrooms) provide thermal mass and facilitate hydronic heating