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Habitus is a movement for living in design. We’re an intelligent community of original thinkers in constant search of native uniqueness in our region.

 

From our base in Australia, we strive to capture the best edit, curating the stories behind the stories for authentic and expressive living.

 

Habitusliving.com explores the best residential architecture and design in Australia and Asia Pacific.

 

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Architecture
Homes
NOT HOMES

Top 10 Stories from April

Above: Torafu Architects   1 | Homely, Contemporary and Nil Maintenence: The Modern Family Dream Home? By Design Avenue with Junctions90 / Melbourne LewishamRD_1134 LewishamRD_1255 See the full story here
  2 | The Ultimate Australian Hut by Casey Brown Architecture / Mudgee 08-PennyClay See the full story here
  3 | 5 Top New Designer Cafes 1U5A3681-Edit 1U5A3819-Edit See the full story here
  4 | The Dramatic Extension of a Traditional 1900s Cottage by Terry McQuillan / Brisbane KentStreet_66 KentStreet_55 See the full story here
  5 | 3 Inspiring Designs for Small Spaces by Torafu Architects / Hong Kong PMQ_04_johnny_han PMQ_02_johnny_han See the full story here
  6 | Can a Floating Staircase Transform a Home? by Karen Abernethy Architects / Melbourne Jewel-House-Karen-Abernethy-Architects-Habitus-Living-01 See full story here
  7 | Nahji Chu on her Home See the full story here
  8 | Habitus Loves... Thailand International Furniture Fair 2015 SALA-Dining-Board-by-Source3 See the full story here
  9 | How do you Design for one of the Harshest Natural Environments on Earth? By Dunn & Hillam / Alice Springs DHA__ALICE_6000 See the full story here
  10 | A Modern Beach Housr Informed by an Old Shed by Irving Smith Jack Architects / Gisborne offSET by ISJ Architects Habitus Living offSET by ISJ Architects Habitus Living See the full story here
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Fixed & Fitted
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Is creating a small, functional & aesthetically pleasing bathroom really that hard?

  There is a growing trend in housing construction towards smaller ensuites and bathroom spaces, due to a fundamental shift to high-density apartment living. Whereas traditionally we’ve opted for detached housing, now we’re building up. From this comes natural fear around space – and yet there are solutions. Combining practicability and visual harmony is possible, and actually not so difficult.   Studio-with-bathroom-high-res-(1)   To help you face the challenges of confined bathroom spaces, which we’re only seeing more of, here are a few tips: • Replace the close coupled/front of wall cistern with a “hidden cistern”. By doing this you will immediately remove the feeling of clutter. Concealed cisterns have been a common feature of commercial bathrooms for some time, and in recent years have seen a surge in popularity throughout residential bathrooms due to their ability to help improve aesthetics, functionality and space. Concealed installation systems completely remove the toilet cistern from view, with the cistern instead being mounted inside or behind a wall, in a ceiling, or within a cabinet or vanity unit. As well as the cistern, the plumbing associated with the toilet is also completely hidden, placing them out of sight and out of mind. The only visible features are the designer flush buttons and pan. This also provides great flexibility with some buttons being able to be placed up to three metres away from the toilet.   3_Brady-bathroom-high-res   • Choose a good-looking tall sink that matches the overall style of the interior and you’ll enjoy even more space. • Buying a small bathtub is also a great solution. With small spaces becoming increasingly common, the options of attractive bathtubs are many. • Large floor tiles, as well as light coloured paint on the walls also give the feeling of space, as opposed to dark hues that shrink a space.   2012_bathroom_02_10_   The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in a home. Whether it’s your personal retreat or busy family zone, creating the perfect bathroom requires careful product selection. More information on Geberit concealed cisterns are available at www.geberit.com.au Geberit geberit.com.au abc
Architecture
Design Hunters
NOT HOMES

The New Move Yoga

  They aspired to bring together like-minded people to practice, revitalise and nourish themselves through Vinyasa Power Yoga in infrared heated rooms.   MoveYoga-006 MoveYoga-002   Founded on the principals of healthy living, maintaining a balanced lifestyle and a passion for yoga, our clients commissioned Hecker Guthrie to transform the inner-city, open-plan industrial warehouse into a sanctuary for repose and meditation, away from the hustle of urban noise. Move Yoga’s desire to provide a comprehensive Yoga experience called for a design that moved beyond basic foundations for learning and practicing Yoga; they wanted all the appropriate amenities suited for the working Yogi, including polished and well equipped bathroom facilities to wash, s traighten and polish up before facing the city again. MoveYoga-003 MoveYoga-004   The design concept celebrated the simplicity of a pared back palette, and the honesty of restrained workings of materials, with a nod to the North and a touch of the East. Hecker Guthrie’s composition referenced both the Japanese architectural sensibility in repeating solid elements – striking both an accessible and halcyon note – with graceful democratic timber detailing reminiscent of the Nordic design aesthetic.   MoveYoga-007   An elevated central reception and locker room pavilion is dressed in paper-washed pine half-dowels intercepted by sinuous, thick ribs that wrap around the form and flow into both private studio spaces. A dramatic central doorway cuts through the ribs, framed like a Tori gate, with a floating pebble step-up from the lake, like lime-washed timber floor, to the male and female amenities.   MoveYoga-008 MoveYoga-010  
"Lighting plays an integral role, framing the atmosphere for each individual space."
  MoveYoga-015 MoveYoga-012   Lighting plays an integral role, framing the atmosphere for each individual space. Transparent, over-scaled Paris Au Mois lanterns float softly above the reception desk and hover just above the floor, emitting a soft comforting glow. Loose woven linen, the colour of rice, gently sways in the space between reception and studio, to be drawn across when the class is in session. Fine black, steel-framed doors close off the space to noise once class begins and provide a modern reference to the existing architecture of the building.   MoveYoga-017   Hecker Guthrie’s signature placement of ‘loose furniture’ takes form in both bespoke reception and storage elements, as well as sculptural and elegant furniture. Styling of reception spaces with a plump Ligne Rose Ploum, and fine, spindly Linden occasional tables in ash, anthracite and black balancing earthy Andrei Davidoff Japanese ceramics and gentle verdant greens creates a sculptural landscape of form, mimicking the strong, yet elegant yoga poses practised only metres away.   MoveYoga-019
Photography by Earl Carter   Move Yoga moveyoga.com.au Hecker Guthrie heckerguthrie.comabc
Happenings
What's On

Habitus #27 Launch Party

Above: Habitus Editor Nicky Lobo and Nahji Chhu, whose home is featured in Habitus #27 [gallery ids="43147,43148,43150,43151,43152,43153,43154,43155,43156,43157,43158,43159,43160,43161,43162,43163,43164,43165,43166,43167,43168,43169,43170,43171,43172,43173,43174,43175,43176,43177,43178,43179,43180,43181,43182,43183,43184,43185,43186,43187,43188,43189,43190,43191,43192,43193,43194,43195,43196,43197,43198,43199"] Habitus issue #27 is on sale now.To see online related content, click here. Make sure you look out for the next event, when we launch issue #28.abc
Architecture
Homes

How The Pipi Beach House Makes A Small Lot Feel Big

  Faced with the challenge of a tight 280m2 site and a brief that called for a private, low maintenance home perfect for entertaining and that captures distant views to the ocean Geoff Lentz of Antanas Procuta Architects conceived an efficient, double storey home capped with a rooftop deck.   _AEB0421a _AEB0471a  
High ceilings, simple forms and large openings work together with a refined materials palette of timber, concrete and polycarbonate to create a sense of spaciousness within the tight but efficient planning diagram.
  _AEB0209a   Entertaining spaces are provided across three levels ensuring that the home can absorb the many visitors who stop in for both short and long stays during the holidays. The most popular of these, by far, is the rooftop deck which is accessed externally from the first floor living area via a striking, custom-made stainless steel circular stair. The deck effectively allows the home to ‘stand on tiptoes’ says Architect, Lentz, to capture panoramic views of the sea and coast over the tops of adjacent buildings.   _AEB0264 _AEB0475   High ceilings, simple forms and large openings work together with a refined materials palette of timber, concrete and polycarbonate to create a sense of spaciousness within the tight but efficient planning diagram.   _AEB0511   Privacy is maintained through the use of high-level windows, sections of translucent polycarbonate cladding and exterior cedar slatting which, in combination, allow plenty of light into the space whilst moderating views both in and out.   _AEB0155   The client’s desire to maintain a fuss-free holiday home leant itself to a sustainably designed outcome. Installation of double glazing and insulation above code throughout allows inhabitants to take advantage of passive heating and cooling using the thermal mass of the concrete flooring and stack effect of high level windows to moderate temperatures within the home. An instantaneous gas hot water system was selected to reduce energy use, as the home is not constantly occupied. _AEB0581   In order to future proof against the possibility of coastal erosion or rising sea levels the home was designed and fabricated using a steel frame that can be unbolted for easy relocation.   _AEB0588a   Antanas Procuta Architects aparchitects.co.nzabc
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Furniture

A new addition to the Tacchini Design Classics collection at Stylecraft

  Having re-issued pieces designed by Achille Castiglioni and Franco Albini, Tacchini have now collaborated with Gianfranco Frattini’s family to bring back to life one of Frattini’s most representative designs, the Agnese Armchair. Agnese-Armchair_2   Originally called the 'Armchair 849' when it was first released in 1956, the now Agnese is the most recent addition to Tacchini’s Design Classics collection. Staying true to the original design, the shell, backrest and armrest all come together in a harmonious combination with the Ash timber frame with the subtle curve of the backrest and the gentle curve of the armrest enveloping the body to offer a high degree of comfort.   Agnese-Armchair_4 Tacchini products available exclusively through Stylecraft in Australia and Singapore. Stylecraft stylecraft.com.auabc
Design Products
Design Hunters
Accessories

Why Amanda Dziedzic chose the hottest form of design

  Amanda Dziedzic was introduced to the physically demanding art of glassblowing during her Visual Arts degree at University of South Australia back in 2005. But it wasn’t until her two-year associateship at Adelaide’s acclaimed JamFactory that she began to hone the skills behind her striking glass designs.   Ikebana-Australiana glass-vegetables  
"You have to be very careful and know your limits, as the last thing you want is to injure yourself and be taken out of the game."
 Glass-beetroots   Glassblowing creates huge demands of the maker – how do you do it? It’s one of the things I actually quite like. When I come home tired, gritty, hot and usually smelling of smoke, I know I’ve worked hard! You have to be very careful and know your limits, as the last thing you want is to injure yourself and be taken out of the game.   dziedzic_yumemiruDSC_3716 Describe your production process A usual day on the glass usually goes something like this… Arrive a couple of hours early to sort my colour for the day and get the equipment warming up. My first assistant (Jaan) will pick up the colour when it is at the right temperature, pop a bubble in it, then take a dip of clear glass from the furnace. I’ll blow and shape it and my second assistant (Dani) will bring me a punty to transfer it from the blowpipe. We’ll then be able to work on the top of the piece and finish it. As far as getting each piece right, it really is about reading the glass and knowing your heat. Repetition is key to learning glass blowing.   Display-Domes Amanda-D   What inspires your work? Plant life is my biggest inspiration. Plants are so incredible and will always be a source of wonder for me. The other guiding force in my design process is colour.   Display_Dome_2 Display_Dome_3   Tell us about your Yumemiru series Yumemiru are a response from my time spent in Japan. It roughly translates as ‘to dream of’. I was thinking of Japan so frequently and these works are my version of a Japanese daydream. This body of work allows for my love of colour to be present while using a variety of soft shapes to hint at Japanese gardens.   DSC_3728   Tell us about you upcoming collaborations I’ve got a couple of collaborations in the pipeline. One of them is with flame worker and jeweller, Jess Dare. I am also part of a group show based on the idea of ‘The Secret Garden’, which will run later this year in Melbourne. It will have artists from all different mediums, not just glassies. Amanda Dziedzic amandadziedzic.com.au abc
Design Hunters
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Design Stories
Furniture

A Call To Arms Against Replica Furniture

Above: Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman. Available from Herman Miller   Replica interior design is now big business. Fuelled by the popularity of reality renovation shows, there is considerable consumer demand in Australia for designer furniture, homewares and lighting at affordable prices. Online shopping and cheap overseas manufacturing have allowed a number of businesses dedicated to replica furniture products to fulfil this demand and flourish. Of course, the fundamental desire for high end products is nothing new. Knock-off products represent an opportunity for consumers to attain a product with the same look and feel and seemingly all the cachet associated with the original, and usually at a much cheaper price. The stigma attached to fakes has largely prevented the problem becoming mainstream in other industries, such as fashion. However, the same cannot be said for interior design. Replica furniture stores have secured sponsorship and product placement arrangements with top rating television programs and within widely-read home decorating magazines alongside authentic design. Left unchecked, replica designs have now found their way into conventional retail furniture chains, as well as bars, restaurants, cafes and even shopping centre food courts. Furniture sellers might feel that it is morally defensible to offer replicas of iconic designs, many of which are now over 50 years old. However, the replica furniture industry goes well beyond this. Sadly, local designers commonly find knock-offs of their unique designs in mainstream furniture stores not long after the original was first released. The market's thirst for quality affordable design is not being fulfilled by investing in the development of clever original products, but by seeking to piggyback off the hard work and reputation of others. In Australia, a basic disrespect for original and authentic furniture design has been allowed to creep in. How did this happen? Many designers and brand owners feel that the intellectual property regime in Australia does not provide them with adequate protection. In some respects, that is true. But it is equally the case that intellectual property protections that are readily available are being underutilised by creatives. Over the next 3 weeks, we will look at the various forms of intellectual property protection available to makers of original and authentic designs and what the industry can do to address the problem. Stay tuned. Explore this topic more at the Vivid event GET REAL – DON’T BE FAKE: the importance of supporting authentic design, held at Stylecraft June 2nd. Tickets available here.
K&L Gates klgates.com  

Christine Danos, Senior Associate, christine.danos@klgates.com; Gregory Pieris, Senior Associate, gregory.pieris@klgates.com; Chris Round, Partner, chris.round@klgates.com

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Happenings
What's On

Design Hunter Guide to Current Exhibitions

Above: Nora Wompi - Kunawarritji Ngurra   1 | The Photograph and Australia 429-1997_25Mar_770x314detail.jpg Migrants arriving in Australia, 1966 (detail) What: An exhibition that investigates the role that photography has played in shaping our view of the world, ourselves and each other. The Photograph and Australia shows the evolution of the medium and its many uses from the 1840s until today, and is sourced from more than 35 private and public collections across Australia, New Zealand and England. Where: Art Gallery of New South Wales When: 21 Mar – 8 Jun 2015 Cost: $15 adult; $12 concession; $10 member; $8 child (5-17 years); $38 family (2 adults, up to 3 kids); Free for children under 5
  2 | Desert Ink by Jonathan May Jonathan-May_Angel,-Sinner-and-Lazz What: Part of the Head on Photo Festival, Desert Ink is a photographic exhibition that documents the lives of eight Mexican tattoo artists in Indio, California, who have left a life of drugs, gangs and violence to form a new community based around art and their determination to earn a decent living. Where: Gaffa Gallery, Sydney When: 1 May - 11 May 2015 Cost: FREE
  3 | Go East: The Gene & Brian Sherman Contemporary Asian Art Collection Screenshot-2015-04-24-10.02 Above: Ai Weiwei Overcoat 2009 (detail). Found coat and two digital prints. Coat 165 x 129.5 cm (framed). Digital prints 43 x 43 (framed). Image courtesy: The Gene & Brian Sherman Collection, and Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney. Photo: Jenni Carter, AGNSW What: Presented by Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation and the Art Gallery of NSW, Go East: The Gene & Brian Sherman Contemporary Asian Art Collection is an exhibition from Gene and Brian Sherman's private collection of contemporary Asian art - rare opportunity to have such broad access to the Sherman's collection. The show spans two sites and includes two major installations (Chinese Bible (2009) by Yang Zhichao at SCAF and Public Notice 2 (2007) by Jitish Kallat at AGNSW), among numerous other works from some 20 artists. This includes a new commission from Ai Weiwei. Where: Art Gallery of New South Wales When: 14 May - 26 July 2015 Cost: FREE
  4 | Botanical Inquiry by Daniel Shipp 01_Defunct_-Industrial_Site_screen 09_Rezoned_Industrial_Division_screen What: A solo exhibition of hauntingly beautiful photographs that reference reality but also fiction. The works embody the idea of 're-noticing' plants, seeing them grow from the most urban and gritty environments. Where: Saint Cloche When: 25 April - 3 May 2015 Cost: FREE
  5 | surrealism by Simon Kennedy FromDoraMaarphotographPortraitdUbu1936 What: A collection of charcoal drawings that seek "to personally understand what lies behind the image that was created in a time before" the artist was born. In the process of drawing from a photograph, based on a historical image, the Kennedy explores ideas of presence and absence as well as "the relationship between history and death." Where: Gallery 9 When: 8 April - 2 May 2015 Cost: FREE
  6 | Together as One Unknown-6 Nora Wompi - Kunawarritji Ngurra What: A body of new work from the Martu people of the remote Western Desert entitled ‘Together as One’. It is the first show in a fantastic new project, The Gallery Shop, which Every month, this eclectic, corner gallery, will host a new meticulously curated exhibition of contemporary Aboriginal art. Where: The Gallery Shop, Potts Point When: 1 May - 29 May 2015 Cost: FREE
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Architecture
ARC - Feature

Life And Design Off Grid

Once the premise of a brave few, today a popularly pursued sustainability ideal; off grid living is steadily gaining widespread momentum. Despite the shift in collective perception – from ‘hippie-dippie’ philosophy to exemplar for sustainable living – life off grid remains largely uncharted. What exactly is off grid living? We wonder en masse. Is it legal? Can you get internet? Does a beach shack count as an off grid house? What makes off grid homes so special? And where do kit homes or the tiny house movement fit in? While the ins and outs of life and design for going off grid remain largely a mystery, the notion itself has never had a more profound resonance. Like it or not, life as we know it is has inevitably come to its end. The threats of climate change have been looming for years and have finally become too close to home. Add to that the current state of global pandemic and I think we can consider this Mother Nature’s verbal warning. Now that we are all more or less familiar with sustainability; living in isolation; and the pitfalls of consumerism, it seems a fitting time to reconsider off grid living upon closer inspection. The Longhouse by Partners Hill, photographed by Rory Gardiner  

Off grid living: a self-sufficient way of life

Rooted in a sentiment akin to ‘living off the land’, the crux of off grid living is being self-sufficient. Or more specifically, living without reliance on municipal utilities and/or services – one or more.  Ingenuity and resourcefulness come to the fore, as one must exploit what is at hand to develop systems for waste disposal, water storage and power generation independent of the grid. Why would someone choose to cut themselves off from the steady supply of basic human needs like water or electricity? The answer to this is multifaceted. Aligning with the motivations of many social movements – from environmentalist to isolationist; minimalist to survivalist – going off grid beckons a diverse cult following. The move off grid is made all the more achievable, by its legality in Australia (pending council approval, of course), and the plethora of predesigned plans and prefab modular homes available on the market. Although the cost of building off the grid homes may surpass the cost of a conventional build, the future savings of investing in for example a solar system supported by solar batteries, will more than offset the initial outlays. Cult following aside, it's safe to say that the growing prestige of living off grid has more to do with the mainstream adoption of sustainable ideals than it does with the apocalypse or dissociation from civilisation.

Off the grid homes: self-sustaining housing

To use the words of the great British poet John Donne, “no man is an island entire of itself.” Even the most self-sufficient of people requires a source from which to harvest their needs – for a life off grid, that source is the environment. Off grid architecture is, in a nutshell, the facilitator of off grid living – distinguishable by the state of harmony between habitat and inhabitants composed by off grid homes. Though ultimately intended to be able fend for itself, an off grid house is designed not to exist as an island, but as part of an ecosystem. As a result, the stalwart self-sufficiency of off grid homes is counterbalanced by an intrinsic appreciation for the environment within which it exists. In design lingo, this is where passive solar design, climate-responsive design, biophilic design and the like come into play. Because the vernacular of off grid architecture is grounded in sensitivities as opposed to conforming to a distinct style, off grid homes come in more shapes, sizes and forms than often presumed. Here are three vastly different, yet equally eloquently resolved, interpretations of off grid architecture from across the Indo Pacific Region.  

1. Codifying the Kiwi Bach: Te Modular by Herbst Architects, New Zealand

Located on Great Barrier Island, 100-kilometres from Auckland across New Zealand’s Hauraki Gulf, this humble holiday cabin falls into the ‘escape from society’ category of off grid homes. While Great Barrier Island’s physical contact with the mainland is not too bad, the island is cut off from centralised utilities. Te Modular makes up for this by being self sufficient for its inhabitants’ water, electricity and sewerage needs. The genesis of Te Modular’s design came during the global financial crisis of c.2008. Nicola and Lance Herbst, partners in life and practice, found themselves with time up their sleeves to work on a passion project that had long been on their wish list: codifying the quintessential Kiwi Bach. With cost as a major priority, Te Modular consists of a solid, workable plan designed to expedite the labor-intensive design, specifications and documentation processes of a bach build. A universal design employing local construction, Te Modular architecture on a budget – not to be confused as a prefab build. Totally a tiny 87-metres-squared, the bach is comprised of three freestanding components – a communal kitchen, living, and dining pod; a bathroom pod; and an optional sleeping pod. In materiality, scale and ethos, Te Modular is down-to-earth by design. [gallery size="medium" type="rectangular" ids="101060,101087,101056"] Photography by Jackie Meiring | Herbst Architects  

2. Colonising unruly terrain: The Longhouse by Partners Hill, Australia

From the pinnacle of an elevated 20-acre plot, located just north of Daylesford in central Victoria, The Longhouse surveys an expanse of rolling plains and wild bushland. Visually, the enchanting vistas fit the bill for a rural utopia; environmentally, conditions are hard to weather. The Longhouse responds to this by autonomously tending to agricultural, ecological and water supply needs. Designed with a utopian vision in mind, The Longhouse is a purpose-aligned container for living, learning, entertaining and cultivating. The residence plus boutique farm, garden kitchen, cooking school, and reception venue takes the form of a single, 110-metre long shed – conceptualised as a giant greenhouse, whose built form would be big enough and resilient enough for the landscape to survive from within. Its roof area has been meticulously calculated to harvest sufficient precious rainwater to service the house, garden and cooking school – plus keep reserves for contingent use and bushfire defence. Underpinned by principles of economy and sustainability, The Longhouse is built to passive house standards, with very few heating and cooling inputs. “It emphasises how much – or how little – you need for a few people to survive and thrive,” says architect Timothy Hill, “a handful of animals, enough water and year-round crops.” [gallery size="medium" type="rectangular" ids="101068,101070,101065"] Photography by Rory Gardiner | Partners Hill  

3. Assimilating nature: Shade House by Ayutt and Associates design (AAd), Thailand

Amidst the rapid growth of Thailand’s urban populace and high-rise developments of Bangkok, Shade House seeks to reconcile urbanity with nature, while tending to the peace, comfort and privacy needs of its inhabitants. Implanted with an autonomous ecosystem, the self-sustainable building has been designed with provision to become a part of a larger urban ecology and a solution for next generation housing. Embodying an appreciation for mental wellbeing, Buddhist ideals and connection to nature, Shade House thrives thanks to its inimitably biophilic and responsive design. Mitigating Thailand’s sub-tropical climate, a façade of perforated aluminium panels welcomes sunlight in, heat out and airflow through the interior volumes. On a 39-degree-celcius summer’s day, these panels are capable of maintaining a comfortable 26-degrees inside. Ecologically autonomous and spatially immersive, the landscaping of Shade House property is responsive to how inhabitants move through and utilise spaces. A waterfall and lotus pond bring tranquility to the Buddhist pavilion; a formal milieu greets guests at the parking bay; pared-back pocket gardens feature on the upper floors; the journey concludes with a fruit garden on the rooftop. As time goes by, the greenery will swallow the white background, and the inhabitants of Shade House will age peacefully and naturally in harmony with the trees. [gallery size="medium" type="rectangular" ids="101054,101051,101053"] Photography by Sofography | Ayutt and Associates design   We think you might also like these 5 houses designed to thrive in sub-tropical climesabc
Architecture
Homes

How do you design for one of the harshest natural environments on earth?

  Alice Springs is at the centre of one of the harshest and most demanding natural environments anywhere on earth. The diurnal temperature range is extreme (temperatures can swing from -5 to 45° in one day) which can be punishing for those who live there as well as the buildings they inhabit.   DHA__ALICE_6000   Architects Dunn and Hillam were invited to design a home in the region for their clients who had purchased a radically sloping, west facing site at the foot of the McDonnell mountain range. The exceptionally experienced duo, particularly in the field of sustainable design, (though they’d shirk at the term, citing that all architecture should be intrinsically sustainable), embraced the challenge with an almost brutally pragmatic approach, working from first principles to craft a protected internal space that stayed constant despite the rapidly changing external temperatures. DHA__ALICE_5983 “The starting point for almost all the answers to our seeming obstacles exist on the site,” explains Dunn, “You just have to ask the right questions and then spend time listening carefully.” In response, the architects designed what they describe as a “big hat over an esky” - a house composed of a completely insulated systems of walls, floors, ceilings and a covered courtyard protected from the searing sun by a soaring fly roof. A tough outer skin shields a glazed inner courtyard which moderates the scale and impact of climate and landscape. Cut into the earth, it hunkers down out of the weather, capturing the thermal mass of the rock and using it to regulate the internal temperature of the building. DHA__ALICE_5989 DHA__ALICE_5975 “The roof’s function is two-fold,” explains Dunn. “It shields the house from the elements and frames the vast skyscape, an ever changing, dramatic landscape in its own right.” As the roof angles upward towards the mountain, it also also acts as thermal draw, the open gap above the insulated roof pulling the cool air from under the external deck, across the central courtyard and into the house through floor level windows. “As the air inside warms up, it rises and is stored in the ceiling area above the habitable space,” explains Dunn. “At night when the air temperature outside drops below the inside temperature, roof vents can be opened to evacuate the warmer air which is replaced by cool air and the cycle starts over again.” DHA__ALICE_5990 DHA__ALICE_5998 The pair also designed a system of hydronically cooled concrete slabs, featuring a system of integrated pipework which maintain the slabs at a constant 18° . Solar hot water is then mixed into the hydronics in the winter months to keep the temperature constant. The essentially passive system also relies on a thermally broken steel structure and a layered wall construction made up of structurally insulated panels. “As the walls heat up, the air is drawn upwards and released in a gap at the top,” adds Dunn. “In winter the top air gaps are closed off to retain the heat.” DHA__ALICE_6002 Attuned to the changing natural rhythms, the owners intuitively respond to daily temperature changes by casually opening and closing windows, doors and air gaps and doors when needed, barely finding the need to use the mechanical air conditioning system. A remarkable achievement given that temperatures in the past year have hit over 45 staggering degrees on multiple occasions. In addition, the architects have designed a layered series of protected and semi-protected spaces which allow their clients to retreat deeper into the building as the day heats up, also allowing them to take full advantage of outdoor living when the sun goes down in the summer and up in the winter. DHA__ALICE_5986 DHA__ALICE_6005 “In a sense the house uses time and weather as part of the material palette,” offers Dunn. “Although Alice Springs is a desert landscape, there is life everywhere, waiting to burst through when the conditions are right. For anything to survive in this landscape it must be patient and understand and utilise the hidden riches which exist in it and under it.”   Dunn & Hillam Architects dunnhillam.com.auabc