R.C. Mesley Animal Hospital: Natural, sustainable, beautiful

Snowy Vets’ new R.C. Mesley Animal Hospital is a project we recently collaborated on with Kydra Designs. Developed in close consultation with Snowy Vets’ Mike Mesley, the design was crafted from his careful mapping of their optimum workflow and his philosophy of health, sustainability, quality, compassion, and professionalism. Clinical requirements are merged with the warm, natural rammed earth material to provide an unintimidating and natural place for pets to visit. Strong connections to the landscape allow for natural ventilation and easy access to the beautiful surroundings Monaro grasslands.

The building incorporates a range of green design techniques, technologies and materials creating a cutting edge contemporary building while also achieving the beauty and warmth the owners were looking for. High-quality, high-performance Binq windows sit comfortably alongside natural materials such as rammed earth and recycled timber. Careful planning and orientation takes advantage of views while encouraging cross ventilation and soaking up winter sun. A polished concrete floor provides appropriate hygiene, provides thermal mass to be warmed by the sun and solar-powered hydronic slab heating. The rammed earth walls allow for diurnal heat exchange (meaning that the heat of the day’s sun reaches the interior during the night and vice versa). The Hospital is an inspiring workplace, warm and welcoming to the public, and a valuable addition to Cooma and the community.

UPDATE We are proud to announce that the R C Mesley Animal Hospital has won ‘Best Non-Residential Sustainable Building’ and received a special commendation for ‘Best Design: New Commercial Structures Up to Two Million Dollars’ at the 2014 National Building Design Awards. It is also featured in the 2014 edition of ‘Winning Design Australia’ Magazine. A big congratulations to Pat Swain at Kydra Designs; we’ve enjoyed being a part of the design team and bringing this project to life.

 Design Team: Kydra Designs, Cooma Logo

Architecture Republic, Canberra and Bowral, logo

Snowy Vets, Cooma Logo
GO Engineering, Canberra Logo

Rammed Earth building with eco windows. Vet hospital by Architecture Republic, Bowral

Rammed Earth Design

The design featured Rammed earth walls; a beautiful, natural material with low embodied energy. The soil used for the rammed earth was quarried locally to reduce waste through transportation and so that the finished colour complimented the hues of the surrounding Monaro grasslands. The solar pergola features recycled hardwood timber frames. The slats of the pergola allow winter sun to penetrate deep into the building while shielding the windows from harsh summer sun without needing adjustments throughout the year.

Working Building

The loading zone was clad in existing hardwood timber recycled directly from on site. The deliveries door itself is made from artificially rusted steel with copper inlay. In this image, you can see behind the ‘public’ spaces of the building to the more functional colorbond-clad clinical areas and the stables beyond.
Rustic copper and coreten steel 'deliveries' door on a Rammed Earth building. Vet hospital by Architecture Republic, Bowral
Rammed Earth building with eco windows. Vet hospital by Architecture Republic, Bowral


The windows in this project are timber framed, double glazed, tilt-and-turn windows. We specified as many windows as we could to the northern facades of the reception space to allow natural light to stream onto the concrete floors on Cooma’s cold winter days.

Clean and Natural

The main reception area has a concrete floor with solar/wood powered hydronic slab heating. Water (heated by the sun, or by the pellet fire on overcast days) is run through the slab which heats up over time. As such, the floor is always warm for the paws that walk across it every day. That heat radiates upwards and keeps all the spaces inside the building comfortable even during the harshest Cooma winters. During summer, the high ceilings, good insulation, ventilation, and heavy thermal mass keep out the heat.
Interior shot of lobby space with natural light and concrete floors. Designed by Architecture Republic.

Like What You See?

Feel free to contact our offices in Canberra and Bowral. We also operate in Goulburn, the Southern Highlands and throughout New South Wales.

Mobile: 0404 654 225
Email: hello@archrepublic.com.au
Post: PO Box 1572 Bowral, NSW 2576 and PO Box 3062 Belconnen, ACT 2617
Architect Registration Number: 9651 (NSW) & 2525 (ACT)