Karragullen Residence

Status: complete

Services provided:
  • Architecture /
  • Design /
  • Interiors

This gorgeous home goes to show you that a sustainable energy efficient home can come in all forms.

They do not all need to be super contemporary designed buildings. Based on what may be typified as an Australian country homestead, this home blends modern sustainable principles with traditional aesthetics. A key component to the design of this home was to make the most of solar orientation and valley views. This would have been straight forward had the views been to the north. Instead they are to the south. To achieve this we designed two pods which are linked by the entry walkway. This enabled the living area pod to capture the southern views whilst the northern aspect of the living rooms could make the most of winter sun. The concept also allows the building to essentially be one room wide throughout. This is perfect for summer cross flow ventilation and winter solar heat gain. A louvred roof system over the courtyard allows the occupants to control sun into the living room.

Our clients loved the natural aesthetic of rammed earth and they wanted it to feature throughout the home, inside and out. Whilst rammed earth provides good thermal mass, it is not a good insulator. Internal rammed earth walls were strategically insulated and north facing walls are insulated framed walls. The result is a building that performs very well and a chameleon in appearance. I love the fact that this home looks very different depending on how it’s viewed inside and out. Internally it’s become a juxtaposition of natural rammed earth against crisp plasterboard lined walls and ceiling. Externally the front elevation takes on a modern twist of Australian country homestead while the back of the home is very industrial.

During the course of designing this home we learnt a lot about our clients. They suggested they love the outdoors. They love the outdoors so much they open their house up summer and winter. We could have designed expensive double glazing or increased the insulation in their home to improve its performance. This however would have been wasted effort, expense and materials because they just love the elements and open their home up to them often. This highlights the importance of us understanding our clients lifestyle when designing.

All of the usual extras that you would expect on a sustainable home have been included on this building. A 4kw photovoltaic power system has been installed which will pay for itself in only a few years. A heat pump system provides hot water for the home and a Biolytix waste water treatment system takes care of their sewerage. Rainwater is captured from the buildings roofs and stored in a Colorbond rain water tank. The home is essentially self sufficient and a very good example of sustainability.