Set in a stunning location surrounded by bushland and without access to services, this home would have to be off-grid and bushfire resilient to deal with the BAL-FZ (Flame Zone) rating on the site...
Designed by Anderson Architecture, this off-grid house had to balance the desire to feel connected to the stunning natural landscape with the need to be protected from the elements, particularly from bushfire risk. Added to this challenge was the fact that the site didn't have access to services and would have to be completely self-sufficient for electricity, water and sewage. The outcome is a modest yet highly durable home that is also environmentally friendly, being net-zero emissions and producing its own energy.
"The distinctive architectural form is a contemporary twist on the typical elongated passive-designed dwelling," explains the architect, "unifying two skillion roofs of opposing slopes to optimise solar energy generation for electricity as well as passive heating and cooling for thermal comfort, bolstered by high levels of insulation and airtightness, an HRV, external shading and double glazing."
The home embraces the outdoors, but can also close down for protection when needed. A side wall of the home opens up to become a verandah, extending the living space onto the deck. Or, while down, acts as a bushfire screen.
Sliding doors stack back to open the entire corner of the home up to the outdoors and take advantage of the treetop views.
Trees that had to be cleared to make way for the home and to adhere to the stringent bushfire safety requirements are reused within the home as structural elements and celebrated in the custom joinery throughout. This creates a variety of textures and colours depending on the species and maturity of the tree as well as an important link to the site.
"A concrete shell was utilised to provide the home’s fireproof skeleton", explains the architect, while "a low carbon magnesium oxide cladding providing a flameproof skin". Local stone is used in gabion walls to tie the home to the site and protect the underside of the home from ember attack in the event of a bushfire.
"Off Grid House is completely self-sufficient. Rainwater collected from roofing serves all the home’s needs and a worm farm wastewater treatment system manages sewerage." - Anderson Architecture
"What started as somewhat of an experiment has encouraged a brilliant learning curve to occur within the practice", explains the architect, "as Anderson Architecture now specialises in designing sustainable homes in extreme conditions as well as in the inner city."
This beautiful home deals with a challenge often faced in Australia, a desire to create a connection to nature as well as a need to be protected from it when it potentially turns hostile. The creative solutions in this home show that we can find that balance.