Sustainable architecture with a uniquely Australian style.

By Kim McFayden 10 months ago

Often it is the constraints of an architectural project that define it and make it unique. In this striking design by Freehand Projects, the need to protect the endangered trees on the property became a feature of the design. The bold architectural expression is softened by a harmonious integration with the surrounds, the main living areas being nestled under the canopy of the ancient eucalypts.

In the words of the architect: the house was “..inspired by the Arizona house and studio built by Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1930’s, these angled frames are designed to direct westerly breezes over the house and create a calm, protected zone on its leeward-side. Internally, the house is lined with plywood to create a warm contrast with the off-white concrete masonry, while carefully detailed angled windows present unobstructed treetop views westward over the Bellarine Peninsula.”

Sustainability Notes

The owners had a clear commitment to a sustainable building which is reflected in the following features:

– Conservation of mature eucalypts and all tree’s on the property

– Orientating the building to enable trees to form natural sunscreen from Western sun.

– Strong integration with surroundings.

– Conservation and development of existing habitats.

– Angled clerestory windows work as a ‘thermal stack’ inside the house. In the cooling season, hot air rises and is vented through these windows, with even the smallest breeze able to be directed through the house via banks of carefully placed louvre windows.

– Rainwater is harvested from the roof of the house, carport and sheds, with 18,000 litre tanks hidden under the living areas of the house, and another 100,000 litre tank adjacent to the sheds for maintenance of the planting. Overflow stormwater flows into a landscaped billabong that fills during the wetter months, and is already becoming a habitat for native frogs and other wildlife.

All photos of this project by Steph McGlenchy.

The owners have a long history in Victorian landcare, and obtained the property with the intention to rehabilitate the 3.5 hectare parcel of subdivided rural land as a haven for local wildlife. The mature eucalypts are an endangered sub-species, with only a few stands left on the Bellarine Peninsula and Surf Coast. The owners have worked hard to nurse the drought-affected trees back to health and are now a habitat for bees, parrots, cockatoos, galahs, rainbow lorikeets and a gorgeous family of tawny frogmouths who sit in the branches outside the owners’ bedroom during the day.

This home is a stunning example of what can be achieved by owners who are committed to sustainable living and building partnering with a creative architecture firm that can bring their project to life.

Photography by Steph McGlenchy.

  ARCHITECTURE, brick/render, elements, fireplace, high ceilings, inside/out connection, materials, natural light, sustainable design, timber, timber/wood/veneer
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 Kim McFayden

  (249 articles)

Founder and editor of Designhunter