South-east of Melbourne in Prom Country Victoria, an off-grid dwelling was designed and built with the goal of reconnecting the clients to nature. The home is more than a weekend retreat; the clients have been inspired by permaculture and are working towards a life living off the land, minimising their carbon footprint and improving their overall way of life. The slightly cooler climate of Fish Creek and the sun protection provided by the building structure itself is ideal for the clients’ edible ecosystem.
The three-bedroom home is separated into two modules; sleeping and living. The sleeping module is nestled against a forest verge. Oriented north-west, it provides protection from the prevailing south-westerlies. The main bedroom has a skylight positioned above the bed, drawing the night sky in, connecting the space to nature and inviting natural light. Cavity sliders join modules to enclose and minimise heat loss during winter, saving power, and acting as noise barriers between living and sleeping.
The glazed walls within the main living module allow the couple to immerse themselves in their rural surroundings, creating a bright and open atmosphere, with framed views of the paddocks and sea. Positioned towards the north, raked ceilings and highlight windows draw natural light into the living, kitchen and dining spaces, while eaves and awnings block the harshest summer sun.
The CO2 emissions saved from the Solar PV system installed approximately three months ago equate to the planting of 8 new trees, according to the architects. The property is fitted with two rainwater tanks, a septic tank, a wood burner to provide heat in winter and strategically placed operable windows and doors for cross ventilation in summer.
There is a need for sustainable buildings that promote healthy living, according to architect Bill McCorkell.
“We believe we can create a platform for a better life and unify an authentic way of living. Our philosophy centres on refining a house of ultimate sustainability and innovative thinking for smarter homes in the Australian climate, mindfully designed and built for less impact on our planet and for your pocket. Because we believe great design shouldn’t be a privilege, but a pleasure for everyone to enjoy,” he says.