Periscope House submitted by aCure Architecture
Instead of selling and moving into a larger house, the owner's saw an opportunity to invest in upgrading the existing home, mindful of the next 20 years and beyond. The intent was to realise their ethical and environmental philosophies in their everyday lifestyle. Rather than focusing on a larger building area to reduce material and energy consumption, the owners were more concerned with well designed compact spaces, providing flexibility to adapt to future needs. Retaining as much of the existing structure and detail was also an important ethical and aesthetic consideration. A low maintenance / toxic free environment were also vitally important. Quality was always the main consideration in all material selections, including the external materials - naturally durable requiring minimal maintenance for the life of the building.
The periscope also acts as a convection flue / chimney to exhaust excess internal warm air. A solar exhaust fan has been fitted high in the periscope.
Opening the internal periscope window will draw warm air from the ceiling spaces to outside. Exhausting warm air will draw cooler air through chosen windows and assist with cross ventilation. Windows positioned high at the ceiling level, facing away from prevailing cooling breezes, are fitted with electric switch winders to ensure ease of use. Adequate insulation will retain the internal temperature. The thermal mass of the concrete floor slab will help to stabilise the internal temperature. The slab edge is fully insulated from outside temperatures, eventually maintaining a constant temperature all year round. The thermal performance of the entire house has been achieved by sound building practice and attention to detail.
• The design consists of a simple rearrangement of internal spaces joined to a small extension to provide efficient living spaces open to the rear yard and northern aspect.
• An un-interrupted view of the Melbourne city skyline and Flemington show grounds to the south provided a design opportunity to explore. The new living areas, orientated to the north at the rear of the existing house, are facing away from the view. To take advantage of this view, a periscope mirror was developed to provide a snap shot of the city to the internal living and external deck areas. the extension protruded out from the existing external wall. This provided a high slit viewing window of the city and sky.
• Demolition work to the rear of the house removed existing laundry, toilet and kitchen areas – to open up the new living space to the northern rear yard. The new living space has an improved relationship with the rear productive garden.
• The existing pitched gable roofs of the original house, facing the street, is retained. A new skillion roof over the living areas replaced the existing northern lean-to. A new timber deck with pergola is added to the north / north west to provide adequate solar control to the large glazed living room doors.
• New additions are to be merged with the existing to provide an integrated floor Plan
• New open planned living spaces provide flexibility according to an evolving family dynamic. The kitchen is at the heart of this space. An open planned 'L' shaped living / dining zone provides an opportunity to furnish as desired with clear circulation. The kitchen island provides a gathering and communal bench with direct access to the entertaining deck.
Including the spacial arrangements, the developed brief included the following;
• Maximise passive solar gain to the new living / dining / kitchen areas
• Maximise cross ventilation and convention air flow
• Toxic free
• Low maintenance, durable and ethically sourced materials
• Reduce utility costs and provide energy efficient systems
• Source systems and materials locally
Passive heating and cooling
• Fixed northern eaves and pergola - designed to appropriate sun angle to exclude summer sun and allow direct winter sun to penetrate
• Insulation to sub floor, walls and roof throughout new and where possible to existing
• Location of external doors, highlight door windows and casement windows to maximise cross ventilation and capture prevailing cooling breezes
• Operable internal windows to maximise cross ventilation through
• Operable highlight clerestory windows to aid the exhaust of internal warm air buildup and draw cooling air
• Location of sub floor access hatch at front entry to allow cooling sub floor air to be drawn through entire house
• Ceiling fan installed to living area
• No air conditioning
• Laminated lumber veneer for new bearers, joists, lintels and beams sourced from plantations, to reduce harvesting waste
• Timber salvaged from demolition was reused to make good existing framing and for new framing
• Plywood T&G floor sheeting instead of yellow tongue particle board
• Re-Stumping of existing sub-floor with new insulation throughout
• Excavated soil was retained for raised planters and landscaping
JACK AND JILL HOUSE
Jack and Jill House submitted by Breathe Architecture
The residence needed to be to be playful, robust & engage with its young occupants as well as their parents. They wanted to spend most of their time together, in the center of the new home; in the kitchen dining & living room.
They wanted spaces that could work in all seasons, a home that was light filled and warm.
The existing house was a Victorian Era weatherboard, atop a hill with its bedrooms facing north toward the street. A heritage overlay would not allow any adjustments to the northerly aspect. The evocative views of the city that the clients fell in love with, along with their courtyard were due south. The site slopes down to the south meant that any new building work would have its shadow impact amplified by the falling ground line.
The weatherboard skin of the preceding single storey home, the transition to the rear is punctured, capturing and maximising northern light and channelling breeze thorough small open courtyards adjoining a novel, stepped floor plan. With this approach, the new volume is passively conditioned, employing thermal mass, overhangs and awnings to mediate or promote solar gain.
The building was designed as a series of volumes stepping down the hill to allow for internal courtyards & suntraps. The internal court to the east allows winter sun deep onto the concrete floor of the dining room in the mornings whilst the western utility courtyard allows afternoon winter sun to penetrate deep onto the living room concrete floor.
The concrete floor is a dual pour system, a structural slab of E-crete, 55mm of high density insulation then a topping slab of 70mm Ecrete with inbuilt hydronic heating coils. The water in these heating coils are pumped through the floor slabs evenly distributing the winter heat gain from the northern glazing before the water even gets to the gas boiler.
Glazing to the ground floor has been minimised, but allow views out while seated or standing.
The internal environment quality benefits from thermal outcomes of strategic passive ventilation and solar planning, harnessing natural power significantly reducing the use energy expenditure of mechanical heating and cooling. A stack effect circulates natural ventilation by strategically placing occupant operated openings in seasonally habituated spaces and by cross ventilation through opposing windows in both plan and section. North and south windows channel good light and breeze achieving passive conditioning. All windows have been double glazed whilst external walls achieve good thermal performance by layering bats and foilboard insulation. The material selection is mainly raw and inert, reducing the potential impacts from embodied energy.
The key ESD innovation in this project is around the thermal mass core of the building and the way that the spaces and openings curate the solar access and ventilation so that the slab benefits from the Northern sun. By stepping the new build down the site & by creating the internal courtyards we were able to provide a well-insulated thermal mass slab (in the core of what one would have summed would be a south facing site) and bathe it in winter sun. The run of hydronic heating coils through this slab to distribute the heat load evenly throughout the slab even without the boiler running meant that the entire slab can share the load of radiating warmth or coolth. Thermal stratification stair meant that this thermal core could be cooled quickly due to the placement of low windows, which bring the cool air into the space, over the slab, and then up to the windows above the stair.
The material palette was kept to robust, highly durable natural and low embodied energy materials & finishes. We worked in collaboration with our steel worker to develop bespoke mild steel light fittings in our effort to reduce the use of aluminium. Gas boosted solar hot water, double-glazing and efficient hydronic heating systems are also employed to maintain a high level of thermal comfort.
We worked with our client & builder to create an inventory of demolition materials for the client to auction on eBay. The builder respected our sustainable approach, we worked with him to hand select timbers from the old house frame and dress them down for re-use as the new kitchen & bathroom bench tops. Recycled floorboards were installed using top nailing only (no glue). They will, like their counterparts in the front part of the house, be able to be lifted one day for future re-use.
• Reclaimed hardwood framing was salvaged, remilled and reused for the bathroom and kitchen benchtops.
• Recycled floorboards were used for upstairs floors and on wall & joinery paneling.
• Recycled bricks were used for the boundary wall construction.
Located in a dense, inner urban area, the efficient planning of this house has meant that there was an actual reduction in its internal footprint. As an alternative to the large ‘box on back’ extension, this project looks at how smaller spaces and multifunctional rooms can provide a large family with the space they need. This project takes a different approach to sustainability and is primarily focused on a notion of ‘quality not quantity’, with the idea that the move towards smaller, more flexible houses is an essential response to conserve resources and reduce carbon footprints.
The brief was a renovation to an inner-city double-fronted Victorian weatherboard, home to a couple with two teenage boys. The clients requested minor alterations to the existing fabric of the house as well as the addition of new bathrooms, and new kitchen, living and exterior decking areas. They wanted spaces for the parents and children to live together and also separately and to be flexible as their needs changed over time. They wanted improved living and entertaining areas and a better connection to the outdoors, but to retain as much of their backyard as possible.
The challenge was to devise efficient planning to accommodate a large family within the constraints of a smaller footprint. The design was conceived as a space that supports family life events, and the spaces were made to work hard to allow the functions to overlap and respond to shifts over time.
Reducing the size of inflexible spaces such as lounge / dining / bathroom.
Using multifunctional spaces for smaller spaces to expand and contract into. The deck/outdoor area is a second TV room in summer or an extended dining room for entertaining.
Using screens / moveable walls / retractable doors to provide flexibility and adaptability.
Maximising efficiency with the use of joinery and built in furniture (day beds / seats / desks).
Making rooms do many things – overlapping and cross programming. For example the kitchen can work as study/library/second living room, with the function shifting depending on the time of day.
Introducing flexible undefined spaces eg. studio/ granny flat / home office / teenage retreat
External screens can be closed for a shady refuge.
Water collected from the roof is re-used in the laundry and WC.
A fan in high ceiling space is used to work in summer / winter mode (circulating warm air down in winter) minimising heating requirements and negating the need for air-conditioning.
The existing house insulation has been upgraded throughout and the rear of the house includes under floor insulation to reduce energy requirements further.
The house has been oriented for maximum solar gain and cross ventilation has also been carefully considered with high level louvres positioned in the kitchen/dining area to vent the house in summer.
The sliding screens across the decking area protect the house from the busy road at the rear of the property while also allowing for the shading of the house from summer sun. Their sliding design means that they can be completely closed to allow the passage of winter sun during the day and then protection against heat loss during the night.
House Reduction photograph by Peter Bennetts