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Case studies

The good house redefined
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A new home in a heritage area


BACKGROUND INFORMATION
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The land owners wish for a compact 3 bedroom home to accommodate visiting children and grand-children. The block is the result of a recent subdivision and comes with a very small building envelope of 113sqm (12.5 squares), which effectively limits the ground floor area of the new home to that size. This implies that a couple of the bedrooms will need to be located on an upper floor, as one car parking space needs to be accommodated within the building envelope. On the other hand, the two-storey home is not permitted to visually overpower the diminutive one-storey cottage next door which is heritage-listed. The resulting design strategy was largely determined by this set of somewhat contradicting factors.

KEY FACTS
point Service provided   Concept plans, permits
point Project type   new home
point Home location   City of Manningham
point Land size   1000sqm (quarter of an acre)
point Proposed home floor area over 2 stories   173sqm (19 squares)
point Budget   $250,000

THE PROPOSED DESIGN
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Complying to Heritage Controls: We determined that to minimize the visual impact of the home, the upper floor would have to be fit in the roof space. The roof pitch of 41degrees was determined by the room size and head clearance needed upstairs. This pitch matches that of surrounding homes, permitting an easy integration of the home in the heritage neibourhood. The home was turned so that the triangular gable wall could face the street, reducing again its visual mass in relation to the heritage-listed home next door. The end-result is that the two-storey home does not overpower its neighbour, a strategy which gained Council support.
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Conservation: The home is framed in plantation pine and the walls given a sturdy base of Castlemaine stone. Upper floor ceilings are lined with plywood. The concrete floor is made using green concrete which is less polluting during the curing period than ordinary concrete.

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A passive solar home: Many of the rooms have a wide North-facing window to achieve the winter solar gains that are necessary in a solar passive home. The green concrete floor acts as a thermal mass,  regulating indoor temperature year round. Insulation is provided with fibre-free bulk insulation, reflective insulation and double-glazed windows throughout. The house achieved an excellent  6* energy rating. Thanks to the thermal features and compact shape of the home, the owners have reported an average of $110 per winter to heat the entire house with a single gas log heater. This is less than half of what it cost in the owners' previous home of similar size.

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Water: Two interconnected rainwater tanks were installed, one for the garden and one to serve the toilet and washing machine. Taps and shower heads have a minimum WELS rating of 4 star.

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