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Dinninup ‘Hexagon’ House

Status: complete

Services provided:
  • Architecture /
  • Design

The Dinninup House, was uniquely designed for our clients in a hexagonal form. There is a central courtyard and one side of the hexagon is opened up to allow a connection from the interior of the house through the central courtyard and beyond to their large property. The house consists of 3 bedrooms, with a deck area coming off the master room, 2 bathrooms and a mudroom, a study, and a large deck coming off to the north of the open plan dining, living, and kitchen area. The materials of the house were chosen to fit into the vernacular of Australian rural architecture.

 

What were the clients’ main driving priorities for this house?

Our clients wanted a house that was light and bright. It needed to be a solar passive house, and have an outdoor area that was quite protected. They came to us with a concept design for the house to be hexagonal in shape. Initial thoughts were of a complete hexagonal shape, but this lead to the inner courtyard of the home being isolated from the exterior. During the course of the design we came up with the current concept a semi-closed hexagon house, with just one side of the hexagon removed.

 

What sort of lifestyle did these clients want to live?

Our clients, retired from careers in farming, wanted to achieve a laid back lifestyle. As this was their retirement home, they wanted a house they could live in even in old age. We made sure that the home was designed for ageing in place, with general ease of use being a high priority in each room and as a whole. We included a mud room in the design so that our clients could go straight from the dirt and dust of the rural block into an area to clean and contain the mess without traipsing it through the house.

 

What was the biggest challenge or compromise that had to be made?

The biggest challenge was that designing a hexagonal shaped home with a reasonably sized inner courtyard meant that the size of the house wrapping around the courtyard had to have quite a large footprint. With a larger footprint, the cost of the house grows. We had to work to find a compromise that resulted in a house size that was not over the top but still created usable areas.

 

What is your favourite feature of this home?

My favourite feature is the unique roof design, having to cater for the different shape meant the form of the roof and the angles used resulted in a very different and striking roof. Also, I love how functional the sustainability features are, in particular the fact that all areas in the house are essentially one room wide so the whole house gets sunlight in winter, and really good cross flow ventilation in summer.

 

Can you give us a rundown of the sustainable features of this home?

The fact that the home is only one room wide, means that the sun accessing all rooms provides passive heating in winter, and the windows provide very effective cross flow ventilation in summer. The use of an exposed concrete slab in conjunction with the building design allows the sun to heat the slab, using this thermal mass to provide a stable house temperature in winter. There are louvres and operable windows across the home, that allow for effective cooling breezes to be channelled through the home in summer. There are large awnings around the house to protect against hot summer heat gain. The home is completely timber framed, with timber door frames. Timber is a sustainable construction material, with one benefit being its ability to lock up carbon. The home captures rainwater for its reuse, it has ceiling fans in the main living areas, and has R2.5 insulation batts to the walls, and R4 ceiling batts. Under the roof sheets, we have used Anticon insulation to wrap the ceiling space and connect down to the ceiling insulation. Creating a completed sealed air space inside the roof cavity significantly improves the insulation of the roof.