An innovative use of timber ‘block’ cladding has earned Breathe Architecture a commendation in the Single Dwelling (New) category at the 2014 Sustainability Awards.

Informed by the scale and form of a neighbouring 1850’s Georgian cottage, Breathe Architecture’s Stonewood recruited a ventilated timber cladding façade to win the commendation ahead of more than a dozen finalists, which also included the category winner, Forest Lodge ECO House by Chris Knierim, Code Green.

The Jury commended the project for its effort to connect with the site’s heritage whilst creating a high-performance building.

“This surprising house uses timber in an unusual way to maintain the visual language of older stone houses in the surrounding area, whilst also aiding the thermal performance,” the jury statement reads.

“It does not attempt to imitate stone in presenting a ventilated skin to the sun. The large operable panels also demonstrate an innovative approach to creating sustainable adaptable living spaces.”

Stonewood uses ventilated timber cladding as a modernised alternative to stretcher-course bluestone to make a thoughtful, contribution to the ongoing narrative of the streetscape.

It was designed for quietly spoken clients with three young, energetic boys. The brief asked for a bright home that could be opened up or closed off to suit different functions; a house that would interact with the community but still protect the privacy of its occupants.

Having a high performing home that responds to its environment and requires minimal energy consumption and ongoing maintenance was also important.

Despite the project’s small square meterage, Stonewood’s system of operable walls and sliding doors makes its spaces reconfigurable and highly efficient. The versatility of the floor plan means that fewer rooms were required, and space usage could be doubled up.

Key initiatives:

  • Operable front façade can be opened in winter to allow sun to heat concrete slab with internal coils, or closed in summer to provide solar shading
  • Passive solar design
  • Locally sourced materials
  • Natural cross-ventilation
  • 3 KW PV solar array
  • 10,000 L Water tanks plumbed to toilets, laundry and garden
  • Exposed thermal mass linked with in-floor hydronic heating
  • Ventilated North & West facades

Photography by Andrew Wuttke

Click here for to see all the winners and commendations for 2014

All the finalists can be viewed in the video below: