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Case studies

A pod addition
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A pod addition


BACKGROUND INFORMATION
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The owner needed more space to accommodate her three children into the period weatherboard home and was also seeking sunnier and more spacious living areas – until then located in a lean-to off the south-facing backyard. The strategy was to convert the existing home into sleeping quarters and ancillary spaces while the new living areas would be located in a rear pod connected via a walkway to the existing home.

KEY FACTS
point Service provided   Concept plans, building permit, fitout design and selection, building contract administration.
point Project type   Alterations and additions
point Land location   City Of Darebin
point Land size   414sqm
point Floor area before:   124 sqm
point Floor area after:   188 sqm
point Budget   $410,000

THE NEW DESIGN
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Orientation: With a flat block of land but a south facing backyard, only one room in the house – the Lounge room at the front – received direct sunlight in winter. It was decided to take the daring move of locating the living area addition at the very rear of the block and connect it via a passageway to the front to create a north-facing “rear” yard to the new Kitchen, Dining and Lounge. The new raked roof space includes a full line of north-facing clerestory windows that clear the passageway structure altogether. This strategy has effectively doubled the solar frontage of the house without going up or sacrificing privacy.

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Functionality and aesthetics: The new clear floor plan seamlessly integrate the two parts of the home when viewed from inside, while the addition volume offers an interesting contrast to the renovated period structure from outside. The two new courtyards created offer different size and character, the smaller one being decked and facing east, the other paved and facing west. They may be used at different times of the day and the year. The existing home at the front was renovated using modern fittings while restoring original paneled doors, cornices and ceiling roses.

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Heating: Hydronic heating was used in the new concrete floor slab at the rear while the front of the house, which retained its original timber floor, was fitted with a hydronic radiator panel in each room. Both systems operate from the same boiler which is equipped to produce the different water temperatures needed. The structural concrete slab was carefully insulated from the cement screed covering the heating pipes in order to provide a dynamic response to thermostatic changes and a guarantee that energy is not wasted heating concrete footings.

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Insulation: Insulation aims at slowing down energy loss through roofs, walls, windows and floors and reduces the so-called cooling or heating load, whichever the case maybe depending on the season. An R6.0 combination of formaldehyde-free insulation and reflective sarking was retrofitted to the existing roof and installed in the new works. Double-glazing units with 14mm gap, Argon gas filling and thorough draftsproofing to all windows. Walls were insulated to R2.5 and timber floors to R2.0.

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Ventilation and shading: Most rooms feature either a south-facing window to let cooling breezes in or a casement window, located on an east or west wall and opening towards the south to funnel breezes in. Adequately sized eaves are provided for summer comfort while the Lounge bifolds are fitted with a horizontal canvas awning to shade the floor thermal mass inside and provide a sheltered place to sit under in summer.

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Conservation: The concrete slab uses recycled aggregates while part of the highly polluting cement is replaced with inert fly-ash. New walls and roofs use either solid or laminated sections of plantation pine. A bike shelter is provided for all members of this active family to stay fit and on the greener side of transportation.

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

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Water: All downpipes are connected to the two rainwater tanks which together have a capacity of 5000 litres and are used to feed the toilets and garden taps. Dishwasher, taps and shower heads were selected for minimal water consumption.

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Power : Measures were taken to minimize electro-magnetic radiation (EMR) inside. All light fittings and appliances were selected to minimize energy use.

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