Corner Top Corner
L_side

Case studies

The good house redefined
R_side
divider divider divider
L_side

A new home in the sun


BACKGROUND INFORMATION
point
The steep block of land was purchased to build a three bedroom home with rumpus and study. The emphasis is to provide a compact and economical design with a bright and airy feel and good thermal qualities.

KEY FACTS
point Service provided   Concept plans, permits, interior design, contract administration
point Project type   New home
point Home location   City of Manningham
point Land size   1734sqm
point Proposed floor area   158sqm (17.5 squares)
point Budget   $330,000

THE NEW DESIGN
point

Orientation: The land is an appropriate passive solar site, as it slopes down towards the North and has a North-facing backyard. The home is logically oriented to have its long face facing North, which also in this case provides the best view of the surrounding vegetation. The living areas and two bedrooms are given a North aspect while one bedroom and the study need to face other directions. A split level design is adopted to accommodate the slope without requiring the expense of an upper storey.

point

Functionality and aesthetics: the interior circulation follows a simple and space-efficient cross pattern, N-S from the entry to the living areas, E-W to the bedrooms. The ceiling height remains the same through the home, permitting higher ceilings (10ft) and tall windows in the sunken living areas designed to increase the sense of space and capture the low winter sun.

point

Light and view: No point in the home except some sections of the corridor is further than 4 metres from a window, which ensures there are no dark pockets in the home. The clerestory window above the kitchen is designed to bring daylight deeply into the room, in view of the fact that the kitchen is adjacent to a small covered deck on the North side.

point

Heating: The sloping block is not suited to a slab floor; however, lightweight concrete floor panels were set over a regular timber joists structure. The panels support a recycled brick floor laid over a 10mm layer of sand. The resulting thermal mass of the floor system is equivalent to that of a 100mm thick concrete slab, while the aerated concrete panels present the additional advantage of insulation the brick floor. A simple gas log heater fitted with ducted vents to the bedrooms is enough the heat the compact home.

The roof is designed with large North facing sections to accommodate future solar panels.

point

Insulation: The Green Concrete footings support base walls of second hand bricks around the whole perimeter of the home up to floor level. This construction method provides much greater insulation to the floor than stumps and baseboards which fail to stop cold winds in winter. A R.4.5 combination of fibre-free insulation and reflective sarking is installed in the ceiling space as well as double-glazing units and Argon gas filling to all windows. Walls are insulated to R2.5.

point

Ventilation and shading: The clerestory windows – installed between roofs – can be opened in summer to flush the hot air that accumulates near the ceiling, creating a cooling breeze in the home (Venturi effect). North-facing windows are shaded by properly dimensioned eaves on the North side. East and West-facing windows are smaller and can be shaded by vegetation or blinds. A large horizontal folding-arm blind was installed over the triple-stacker door to further shade living areas. The shallow floor plan creates opportunities for summer cross-ventilation by aligning South and North-facing windows to let cool breezes in and out.

point

Conservation: Generally, the compact nature of the home produces a small environmental footprint as fewer materials are required to build it, irrespective of the materials own merit. Plantation pine, hardwoods from sustainably managed forests and fast-growing bamboo boards were used throughout. Recycled bricks rather than new bricks which use a lot of energy for firing, were used around the subfloor perimeter as well as as flooring throughout the house. Footings were poured using Green Concrete which is made of recycled aggregate and replaces some of the polluting cement with fly ash, an inert industrial by-product.

point

Indoor air quality: Low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) finishes for walls, floors and timber were used throughout.

point

Water: The back deck has been dimensioned to accommodate three interconnected rainwater tanks, with a total of 18,000l to be used in the garden, in the toilets and the laundry. Taps and shower heads were selected for minimal water consumption (WELS 5 star rating). Water consumption per person is around 60 litres per day, a vast improvement on the current 155 litre target for Victoria.

… back to case studies »

R_side
Corner Top Corner