No effort was spared in the attempt to incorporate as many sustainable features as possible into this house. Features include rammed earth wall for thermal mass and moisture absorption, photovoltaic panels, solar thermal water heating system, rainwater reclamation and storage, recycled timbers and zinc roofing. Passive solar design principles are adhered to strictly. Skylights, floor-to-ceiling glazing, open central courtyard, louvres and interior blinds capture and regulate natural heat and light. And it is all done in a manner that makes no sacrifices on comfort, appearance, or convenience.
Build a family home that provides comfort throughout all seasons, a reduced ecological footprint, wide ranging panoramic views, and the feeling of luxury that defines high quality living.
What makes a house comfortable? Is it the level of padding in the couches or the climatic and physical comfort that architecture, integrated with nature, allows? Elamang Avenue is a house that attempted the highest level of “comfort” as described above, whilst producing the smallest environmental impact.
A rammed earth wall spine is the passive thermal system developed in this house to provide a protection from the extremes of the climate. The spine links all levels of the long stepping dwelling on its south side. The rammed earth has the hydroscopic characteristics of clay and adsorbs the abundant harbourside humidity to release through evaporation when the temperatures rise and act as a natural air conditioner. In winter a linear skylight just north of the rammed earth wall allows the sun’s rays to be cast directly on it.
Adjustable louvres control the intensity of the sunlight and glass louvres adjust the natural ventilation. The scheme also aimed to morph the existing welling into a more contemporary house and to link it to a new garage structure on Elamang Avenue.
The design of the house uses the articulation of the old footprint, the additions and the garage volumes to form three landscaped courtyards and gardens. Each garden is at a different level and has a different character as it responds to the program of the rooms associated with it. The middle courtyard orientated north provides light and sun to the centre of the house, moderated by blinds and vegetation to suit the climate and users.
The eastern end of the house has a green roof landscaped with succulents and the solar photovoltaic panels that are proudly presented as the main design elements at the centre of the roof. The materials and construction used are rammed earth, recycled timber and zinc, a palette of materials that produce essentially low CO2 emission.
Concrete and bricks were used in part to ensure the home’s lasting qualities and enduring life span. The bowels of the house contain 14,300 litres of water tanks and, much like a camel this house can survive heat and drought with minimal water and energy consumption. The project succeeded as a testing ground for our aim to combine a high quality residence with a high level of environmental sustainability.
- Sloping site and council restriction required a stepped form to the three-level house.
- The orientation eastward required the formation of side gardens and courtyard.
- The rammed earth passive solar system is the link between the entry at level 3 and the living space on level 1.
ENERGY EFFICIENT DESIGN AND MATERIALS
- Rammed earth walls for thermal mass, low embodied energy and hydroscopic characteristics
- Photovoltaic panels
- Natural light and ventilation
- Sun control external louvres and interior blinds
- Rainwater storage
- Solar hot water
- Recycled timbers
- Zinc roofing, a low embodied energy material compared with steel
- Rammed earth blades originally tipped in timber, due to the tight radius at the end of the blades. Consultation with the rammed earth contractor resulted in a sleek minimal radius being produced in rammed earth, a daring profile not normally executed.
- Rammed earth, rendered brick and concrete were used both for their thermal properties as well as their durability.
- AIA NSW Awards, Milo Dunphy Award for Sustainable Architecture 2011
SUMMARY OF ACHIEVEMENTS
Tasked with building a residence that would be maximally sustainable and energy-efficient, the Elamang Avenue builders and architectural team spared no effort in the attempt to incorporate as many sustainable features in the house as possible.
The list of sustainable materials and additions to the Elamang Avenue property includes a rammed earth wall for thermal mass and moisture absorption, photovoltaic panels, a solar thermal water heating system, rainwater reclamation and storage, recycled timbers, and zinc roofing.
Passive solar design principles were followed religiously, as the house relies on operable skylights, extensive floor-to-ceiling glazing, an open central courtyard, and external louvres and interior blinds to capture and regulate extensive natural heat and light.
While the attempt to build homes with reduced ecological footprints is not a new trend, nevertheless Luigi Rosselli Architects has done something quite noteworthy – they have found a way to design a home that makes no obvious sacrifices on comfort, appearance, or convenience in order to remain fully sustainable.
CHINA WALL STABILISED EARTH RAMMED EARTH BRICK
AC ROOFING SERVICES, ZINC ROOFING
WINDOWS & DOORS
LIDCO - ALUMINIUM WINDOWS AND DOORS
WOODFROM ARCHITECTURAL, RECYCLED BLACKBUTT FLOORBOARDS
DRAKE WINDSOR BLACKBUTT CARPET
WALL AND CEILING LININGS
CSR GYPROCK, SUPACEIL
DULUX, SNOWY SUMMIT, NATURAL WHITE AND VIVID WHITE
MARBLO GROUP, POLYMERIC-COATED PREFINISHED MELAMINE BOARD
CUPBOARD FACE PANELS
MARINE GRADE PLYWOOD WITH POLYURETHANE MATTE FINISH
RECONSTRUCTED STONE BENCHTOPS AND VANITIES