Sustainability passive design family home

The Jewellery Box is a sustainable home for a small family which uses passive design principles to create a comfortable, functional space. A new house on a small suburban lot, it has been designed to promote family closeness. Like a jewellery box, the clients see their home as a space that serves to conceal and embrace intimate moments, which has been reflected in the design.

The brief

The brief was for a new house with five bedrooms, three bathrooms, an open plan kitchen, a dining and family room, a separate living room and a pool.

For the clients, a young family, it was important that the design didn’t encourage people to be separated. Passive design principles were also important, such as natural light, ventilation and the use of environmentally sustainable systems and materials. All of this needed to be done on a limited budget.

Design solutions

Sustainability passive design family home

The home has been designed to have visibility between all indoor and outdoor spaces, addressing the clients’ desire for family closeness. The kitchen, dining, living and family spaces all have direct sightlines to one another, broken by a courtyard. This courtyard does not inhibit visibility; it opens onto the dining and living room, creating a feeling of separation yet connection. The courtyard also acts as a lightwell that brings indirect light into other parts of the house while aiding in cross-ventilation.


Sustainability passive design family home

Environmental sustainability has been considered through tactics such as PV solar panels and double glazing to all eastern doors and windows. Passive design principles have also been used, such as wind tunnels, sliding external timber screens over eastern and western windows on the first floor, calculated overhangs on all north-facing windows and the use of heat sinks in the form of polished concrete slabs in the family and living rooms.

These materials are cool underfoot in the summer, as the building blocks direct summer sun while capturing the lower winter sun. In winter, the sun penetrates the concrete slab, warming it throughout the day and slowly releasing the heat throughout the night.

Key products/suppliers

The first floor cladding system is a product called Barestone, supplied by CSR Cemintel. The Skillion roofs were provided by RITEK. This roofing system consists of pre-finished roofing panels which were brought to site and installed over a couple of days. This fast method of roofing construction vastly reduced the construction period, which in turn saved the clients money. The timber screens were made out of western red cedar. All doors and windows were supplied and installed by K & K Shopfitters.