If the best solar orientation is one direction, but the best view is in another, what do you do? Project Franklinford, in Victoria's Central Highlands, an off-grid, environmentally-friendly home enjoys the best of both worlds. Sitting sympathetically in an open paddock, the home captures views without compromising on environmental performance...
Modscape have designed a long, L-shaped home which shelters and protects a large deck, while taking in expansive views. The vista is captured from the moment you walk in the door, with a seat-height window framing views of the surrounding paddocks and creek. The living wing at the short end of the L faces north, for excellent solar orientation and passive heating potential. It also has a large west-facing window to take in that view.
The four-bedroom holiday home is shared between two families and serves as a rural retreat for extended family and friends to escape and relax.
The materials are inspired by surrounding agricultural buildings, helping the long building to fit into the landscape. On approach, radially sawn timber gives the home a rustic, weathered appearance, but on the protected side, COLORBOND® steel and Vitrabond achieve a more modern and low-maintenance look.
Dark oak flooring flows seamlessly onto the deck thanks to floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors. The deck itself is sheltered by the shape of the home, so it captures the sun, without the sometimes strong winds that can sweep across the paddock.
Project Franklinford uses Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) to create a highly-insulated shell. The SIPs, combined with good orientation, carefully considered eaves and thermally-broken, low-e, double-glazed windows create a home that stays naturally warmer in winter and cooler in summer. "The house has been oriented to capture the sunlight in winter, particularly in the large living area where the families spend the majority of their time", explains Modscape.
Solar panels are mounted on the house and a nearby shed holds the battery storage. Combined with an 80 000 litre water tank, the home can run off-grid without limiting the owners' lifestyle.
Project Franklinford shows us you can have a view without compromising solar performance. You simply have to think carefully about how your house will work and frame the best views, while still maximising north-facing windows.