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Slow Architecture - Sustainable Co-house

This family home is, gradually, under construction. 

See our blog during construction here.

This pavilion home is progressively designed to an overall master-plan.

The home is designed to be constructed in stages, to suit budgetary and family requirements.  This allows the family to build only the pavilions needed, when they are needed, or when they can be afforded.

Co-House Home Design

The home is designed as a ‘co-house’.  This is a form of shared housing lying somewhere between a granny flat and a duplex but located on one site.

It shares some facilities, and land, to house a group of families or friends where 1 might previously have lived.  Rather than being  a new idea, it is a rebirth and rethink of the traditional ‘extended family’ lifestyle with all it’s benefits, and complications.

Sustainability of Home Design

The Co-House design, and staging of construction, both have the potential for environmental and social benefits.

It reduces the dependency on new land to create new homes by increasing density (reducing urban sprawl) while also giving potential for greater social connection in our suburbs.  For example it allows for an extended family or friends to live together, but while also maintaining privacy and amenity.

It reduces costs for each party living in the home so that rates, land costs, construction costs, utility costs and the like can all be shared.  This design further controls costs by controlling the overall size of the home to maximise the benefits for money spent in the construction.

Passive Solar Design

The pavilions of the home are designed to all face north.

They maximise the benefit of warming winter morning sun onto a thermal mass floor (polished concrete.)  The design also excludes the summer sun so that the same polished concrete floor stays much cooler in summer.  This helps to anchor the house temperature in a more comfortable range, for more of the year.

The openings also catch the prevailing cooling breezes in summer, when they are around.

The aim of this passive solar design is to reduce the need to run air conditioning: and when it is running reduce the rate at which it runs.  This reduces the cost of air conditioning systems being installed into homes, the cost of running them (energy use) and also improves our lifestyles with more direct connection to the landscape by allowing more comfort with shaded open windows and doors.

Recycling

This modern home design follows a strict palette of materials, colours, and set-out.  It features recycled elements including doors, windows, kitchen, feature timber, and the like.

Active Solar Systems including Home Battery

This home incorporates solar pv panels with a home battery added in 2016.  You can read more about the battery performance on our blog here.

It also includes solar hot water, significant rainwater storage, and a hydronic floor heating system for future connection should it be required.

Landscape Design

We are developing the garden design in association with a landscape architect to manage the significant stormwater surges across the property, provide privacy, and highlight the passage of seasons with a mix of edible and deciduous plantings.

The pavilion design of the home is all on one level.  However, the pavilions allow courtyards and landscape spaces to wrap through the home and connect the occupants more intimately to their site.

A Slower Architecture

Engaging in a slower process, and encouraging the evolution of design and construction: allows us to enjoy changes as they happen.  For the occupants to better understand themselves and their house.  And, to appreciate the difference which the changes make to life in the home.

Like tasting the ingredients of a meal as they are slowly prepared and cooked.  And to gradually evolve the design in response to that experience.

It has enabled us to source various recycled elements and incorporate their reuse into the home – where a modern start to finish construction would make such flexibility and evolution difficult.

(Photography by fotomedia, and alex hunt photography… except the dodgy ones – they are ours)