Home design trends maximise energy, space, and surrounding beauty
As Australia’s cities become more crowded, home design trends are moving toward making the most of available space, incorporating movable walls and flexible indoor/outdoor and multi-use areas. Homes are also becoming more energy efficient, using passive design to maximise natural energy sources or retrofitting older homes with eco additions. Outside the cities, the home design trend is to blend in with the natural surroundings, making for “invisible” homes. This month we feature examples of those homes from architects taking home design to the next level.
High-performing insulation and triple-glazed windows help this John Wardle Architects creation in Toorak, Melbourne, meet the passive design standards of Passivhaus by maintaining a comfortable temperature with minimal energy use. A photovoltaic cell system with battery storage supplies all the house’s energy. Mt. Gambier limestone covers much of the exterior, with recycled locally sourced timber playing a large role in the aesthetic as well.
When Steele Associates wraps up construction in the heart of Redfern, this will be Australia’s first Passivhaus-certified apartment building. Air-tight windows and insulation are about 40 times more effective at keeping out draft than the average Sydney apartment. This will allow tenants to cut electric bills by 90 per cent compared to the average Sydney house. Thermal bridge insulation and heat recovery ventilation will keep the apartments at a consistent temperature year-round.
An all-encompassing garden provides seclusion in this Putney home design from Still Space Architecture, whilst the eponymous verandah provides a transition from public to private spaces. The internal structure allows for flexibility of use as sections of the house can be separated off as it transitions from one to three storeys. What serves as a public space during the day can be partitioned off as a private space at night, making it ideal for multigenerational living.
Modular pre-fabricator Archiblox made this inner Melbourne home’s two-storey addition fit onto the existing structure and turn it into a four-bedroom home for the firm’s owner, Bill and Christine McCorkell and their two children. The addition hangs over the kitchen to cut down on harsh summer sunlight, and the backyard has flexibility for the family’s future. “We’ll build a second dwelling down the back – a space for our parents or our kids – when the trampoline becomes obsolete,” Christine told Sunday Life Magazine.
Avalon Beach House
Another Archiblox project, this modular home design with a view blends in with its surroundings by sporting a green roof that minimises rainwater runoff and insulates against solar heat. Situated on a cliff’s edge overlooking a bay, the house uses special footings to accommodate water flow across the site and guard against potential erosion. The east-west orientation facilitates cross-ventilation.
All Assemblage projects evoke the home’s relationship with its surroundings, and Clifftop House is no different. Overlooking Sydney Harbour, the home design incorporates passive solar design with a series of terraces covered in greenery and a bevy of windows letting natural light — and gorgeous views — permeate the house.
Iredale Pederson Hook architects Adrian Iredale and Caroline di Costa renovated this Perth home from the 1930s for their family. They kept the original facade and sloping roof and added an extension that shields the interior from the summer sun and employs a cooling technique borrowed from Western Australia’s miners. They built a multipurpose pavilion with a polycarbonate roof featuring a skylight.
As an addition to an Edwardian house in Fitzroy North, Melbourne, McBride Charles Ryan designed a cloud-shaped structure that transitions seamlessly from wall to ceiling in modernised barrel vaults. The south-facing addition lets the sun filter into the living area and provides cross-ventilation. A red box encapsulates the kitchen and serves as a bridge between the century-old original home design and the addition.
Oyster Bay Eco House
Making use of large windows to capture sunlight in winter and gum trees to shade those windows in summer, this Hatchway Developments home design gets the most energy it can from natural light. A butterfly roof maximises light capture as the sun moves throughout the day. The steep slope with drainage challenges was difficult to build on, but Hatchway put four bedrooms on the ground floor and the living area on the first floor to take advantage of natural heating and cooling patterns.
Based around a central courtyard, this rural Queensland creation of Bark Design Architects also uses loads of glass to bring in natural light and astounding views of the Glass House Mountains. It is, quite literally, a home made for its surroundings. The outdoor garden embraces zen philosophy and offers an oasis of calm near a busy road, and the interior embraces the Japanese idea of wabi sabi, finding the beauty in imperfection.