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Our client required a house that was sensitive to its environment while also capable of resolving security and privacy issues from the busy street and car park opposite.
We set the residence back behind the liquidambar tree in the front yard, creating an open, north facing garden that provides a buffer to the street.
The design places a protected courtyard at the centre of the residence. Easily accessible from each part of the house, this approach allows the courtyard to act as both a focal point and a natural corridor.
In addition to connecting all sections of the house, the courtyard also takes advantage of naturally available light and ventilation, providing an abundance of warmth and sunlight in both the central courtyard and the rear living areas.
Built on gently sloping land in suburban Melbourne, this contemporary and environmentally friendly home is designed to integrate seamlessly with the inherent natural beauty of the existing site.
Our approach favoured the use of natural materials, both inside and out, in order to create a relationship between the house and its surrounding environment. A series of inter-connecting rooms allow clear lines of vision throughout the house while also maximising the available light.
The application of passive solar design principles provides an abundance of warmth in winter and captures cooling breezes during summer. This light filled, split level home features the intelligent and sensitive application of sustainable design principles, conveying a feeling of openness, expansiveness and calm.
An addition to an existing brick house, the Bush Studio was designed to act as an inspiring workspace for an artist.
Located in a quiet bush landscape, the lightweight timber structure hovers above the ground, perched in the canopy of native trees. The building is clad with sustainably harvested, radially sawn local hardwood that complements the surrounding environment.
The building is oriented to maximise the availability of light and allow passive heating through solar gain, while deep awnings and natural cross ventilation prevent overheating in summer.
In addition, the existing local ecology was unharmed by the new construction and was actively enhanced by revegetation.
Gallery House was created in response to our clients request for a compact home that would also allow them to create and exhibit their art collection.
By placing a combined gallery and studio space upstairs and incorporating a large, north facing void over the living space below, the art is visible from all angles. Deep timber eaves over the second floor shade the expansive windows, while the ceiling bends gently up to the south to capture cooling breezes.
The two-storey void allows solar energy to pour through tall windows, bathing the living spaces and the core of the home in sunlight. Large doors open up to the garden while high windows offer sky views to the horizon. From the street, the home is welcoming, open and scaled to fit into the neighbourhood, showing sensitivity to its surrounding environment.
The end result is an easy living home that provides a high level of natural comfort and sustainability in a unique gallery setting.
The Southwood home is a compact house for a client who runs a business dealing in ethically sourced homewares. Integral to the client’s belief was the use of environmentally responsible materials that were locally produced, sustainably sourced, recycled or organic. This ethos was followed through in the specification for the house, making it a healthy, environmentally responsible building.
Environmentally responsible materials employed in the project include recycled bricks, Earthwool insulation from recycled glass, thermal mass in the concrete slab, locally sourced timbers and triple glazed windows. All materials used were low VOC, and the use of particleboard and chipboard was avoided completely.
Spatially, the house is modestly sized (115m² floor area within an 85m² footprint) however, is efficient enough to house a family of six. The side entry eliminated the need for corridors. The plan caters for long term flexibility.
The laundry and store room act as the engine room of the house, containing the hot water system; waste heat generated here is used to warm the house. Similarly, low tech passive design techniques were employed wherever possible: the house is oriented north for passive solar gain; and the living rooms on the first floor benefit from unobstructed solar gain. Summer heat loads are controlled by adjustable shade sails made from recycled ship sail canvas.
Natural ventilation is facilitated through the use of mechanically operable clerestory windows above the central stair void drawing air up through the house and the multiple small secure operable windows at ground level.
The client chose not to use natural gas in the belief that all energy powering the house was theoretically solar, from the roof mounted photovoltaics and the 100% green power sourced from the energy provider. Restraint is exercised in the fit-out as rooms are only allowed one light and one power point each.
The result is an incredibly efficient building that benefits aesthetically from the environmentally responsible history of the materials as well as their performance.
Located on a narrow site in Melbourne, the North Carlton Green House was inspired by our client’s connection with landscape and represents the innovative use of sustainable design principles.
We offset the house from the north boundary and created a courtyard with north facing windows. Deciduous planting provides shade in summer, with additional plants integrated throughout the site to improve the indoor air quality. Perched above the surrounding rooftops and nestled in the tree canopies, a roof garden acts as an oasis from the urban environment.
Passive heating is provided by a two storey north facing void that allows sun to penetrate deep into the house, heating the thermal mass of exposed concrete floor and ceiling. Passive cooling is provided by windows located to catch breezes cooled by the courtyard plants and pond, while a two storey void facilitates natural heat removal through stack effect.
The end result is a living, breathing, sustainable space that is a pleasure to inhabit.
The Autonomous House exemplifies our commitment to environmentally sound and eco-friendly design principles. We proposed a house that could harvest its own power and water and treat its own waste on site in response to the client’s values and the reality of difficult access to services.
On this rural property, the house was positioned where a large gumtree had fallen, allowing north light to penetrate into an otherwise dense and dark canopy. By minimising vegetation removal we maintained privacy in this bush setting.
The small footprint of the building is designed to weave between the trees along a well-worn wallaby track. All habitable rooms have access to articulated north facing windows for capturing light and heat as well as southern windows for free flowing cross ventilation.
The result is a house that, as its name indicates, is completely self-sustaining.
Set amongst scrub in a small avenue just one block from the beach, the house reflects its coastal environment in design and construction.
Timber cladding wraps the exterior of the house as well as many of the interior planes, creating a relationship between the building and its surroundings. A large canopy and openable steel screens frame the entry. The screens control privacy from the street while allowing desirable views to the untouched, natural scrub.
Beyond the entrance, the centrally located ground floor entry court connects all parts of the house. The floor plan provides further flexibility for the expanding and contracting nature of beach houses throughout the seasons.
A large elevated north facing deck captures the sun while the south facing deck opens up to the tree-tops and coastal breezes. This approach results in a flexible and inviting building that responds directly to its environment.
Inspired by Melbourne’s café culture, this eco-friendly residence adopts a communal approach to its functional and aesthetic design.
The kitchen and living rooms open fully to the outdoor dining areas, encouraging shared enjoyment. A bar area is defined in the kitchen with servery access to the outside. Passive solar efficiency is achieved by having living areas oriented to the north and minimal glazing to the south.
Outside, a pergola featuring the beginnings of a grape vine defines the external dining space. The carport extends the outdoor dining area providing additional entertaining space for larger gatherings and connection with the rear laneway.
More intimate areas are achieved through the use of different volumes within the open plan arrangement. The result is a comfortable and flexible home that effortlessly combines the old with the new.
Located in a marina development on the Mornington Peninsular, the site presents with a number of constraints: west facing site with views to the water, large slope from the street level and poor founding soils.
The first floor bedrooms cantilever and suspend above the ground floor living via expressed steel truss frames. This results in a framing of the views and a reduced exposure to the harsh westerly aspect. The living spaces below form a solid, grounded base. Double height, north facing glazing floods the living areas with winter sun and heat gain is absorbed by mass materials and dark colours.
The main bedroom and second living room are accommodated in a two storey volume at the south end which is set apart from the rest of the house. The east facing first floor garage-cum-gallery has translucent walls allowing morning light into the house and the gallery to glow at night.
An exercise in cradle-to-cradle recycling, the Zen House aims to create a contemporary family home that is imbued with the spirit of the existing site.
The pre-existing 1970’s beach house was carefully dismantled to allow reassembly within the context of the new building. The existing garden was retained and increased in size by reducing the new building’s footprint. In turn, this allowed for a productive garden to thrive on the northern façade, helping to control sun and wind and making the house feel more comfortable and connected to the ground.
The radially sawn timber fins on the east façade angle variably, animating the façade in a wave-like manner as the viewer approaches the building. This façade also serves to protect the southern end of the upper floor decks from cold south-easterly breezes while opening out to the sun and views at the northern end.
These timber fins are visible both inside and out, which ties the building together reinforcing the feelings of shelter and connection to the natural world.
The ethos behind the conversion of this 1960's warehouse was to retain and re-use as much of the existing building as possible while still transforming it into a comfortable and energy efficient family home.
The philosophy of retaining and re-using materials was applied throughout the project. In addition to the building envelope being retained, many original elements were re-used including light fittings, sprinkler pipes, doors, cladding and roof sheeting.
The existing warehouse floor slab was also kept, partially due to restricted site access, but also for its inherent embodied energy.
The addition of a north-facing courtyard provides a generous amount of light and heat in winter in an otherwise poorly oriented building. Cross ventilation is achieved through new high level louvres. Mezzanine rooms float within the original volume and structure of the warehouse. A new raised deck links the living areas with the courtyard.
By inserting a garden and light into an existing warehouse we have created an warm and liveable family home.
A contemporary extension to an existing residence, the purpose of the Tree View house was to bring a new degree of comfort, functionality and sustainability to a family home.
The existing house was preserved for many reasons: budget, the existing streetscape and the ethos of recycling. The contemporary addition responds to naturally occurring site features including solar access, breezes and tree views.
The addition is pushed back from the northern boundary to improve solar access to living spaces and decks. The split roof form is generated by the opposing forces that rake the roof north towards solar gain and neighbouring treetop views, while also lifting it to the south towards southerly breezes and an existing maple tree.
The southern garden, previously disconnected from the house was reimagined and transformed into the focal point, creating a relationship between the house and its surrounding environment.
A rear addition to an existing double fronted period home in West Brunswick, The Nest consists of a new open plan living area and a mezzanine.
The client’s brief specified that the kitchen should be the focal point of the house with all family rooms interacting with this area. The solution came in the form of a nest-like mezzanine studio that floats above the living area. Underneath the canopy of a dramatic, north-facing raked roof, the mezzanine facilitates interaction between each room in the house while still allowing separation of spaces for privacy, acoustics or thermal comfort if required.
The result is a compact, interwoven house that respects its surrounding environment whilst enhancing the passive solar performance of both the old and new sections of house and interaction with outdoor spaces at the rear