Category : Contemporary/Sustainable development
Client : Personal residence
Location : Northwood, North Sydney
Description : The objective when designing and constructing this house was to use natural elements to their greatest advantage while still creating an attractive and functional living space. Working with the client, we developed a plan to salvage and reuse as much as possible from the dismantling of the original cottage on the site. This included stone, timbers and bricks. The new house was positioned so as to maximize sunlight throughout winter and to prevent over-heating during summer. The windows use heat-retaining glass and the house was built in a reverse brick veneer technique, designed to regulate heat and lower heating costs. All bricks used in the construction were salvaged from the previous dwelling, as was the timber used in the profiling and form work. The sandstone salvaged from the previous dwelling was re-split and used as a feature wall at the entrance to the house. We used radial-cut timbers which, compared to conventional milling, minimize wastage. Overall, this modern, steel, glass and timber home was designed with sustainability in mind and was completed with minimal environmental impact. The success of the project can be measured through the house's very low energy use. We installed a hot water heater with an energy efficient converter and the house was also designed in such a way that it would not require air-conditioning. 

Key challenges : We faced a number of challenges including the fact that the site for the house location was positioned over a cliff edge and was very steep. This awkward site provided great challenges and required a very specific OHS plan and regular briefings with staff. It was necessary to build the feature stone wall before the house as it acted as a support base for the new structural steel. The wall was two stories in height and required temporary supporting braces to ensure stability of the structure during installation of the steel elements. The design required meticulous accuracy to build in segmented radial sections; the carpentry in particular required precise tapering along the radial lines of the ceiling boards and flooring. The finished product was a home in harmony with its natural surroundings of trees, bushland and waterfront.

Completed : 2005