Down to Earth is an energy efficient extension to a Californian Bungalow in inner-city Melbourne. It combines two unlikely architectural expressions – the casualness and generosity of a light-weight timber clad building with the heaviness of earth construction.
The brief was for a long-term home for a family with young children with the ability to accommodate guests over longer periods of time. We added low-cost operation, current and future functionality, evolving privacy needs and future accessibility to the brief.
We believe we planned ahead by considering zoning, layout, room sizes, relationships to outside and other details that will accommodate future complexities and challenges in family life.
The new extended home is divided into four zones: children and guests in the original part, parents, communal and transitional areas in the Rammed Earth extension. Every zone has its own outdoor space. Joinery is located, considered and detailed to accommodate daily activities for both children and adults from storage of clothes, schoolbags, sports gear to electronic devices.
The original Californian Bungalow was advertised as 'quiet at the end of a cul-de-sac'. We wanted to change that. The old house is opened up to the street, the addition is oriented towards the sun and faces the original Californian Bungalow, allowing you to look at the heritage house from the new part and vice versa. I always preferred this over looking at or over a paling fence to the neighbour’s property.
The addition is modest, and its form generated by the plan. Without copying it, it uses the formal language of a Californian Bungalow with the combination of heavy and light materials and generous roofs.
Passive solar design principles take precedence over all else: zoning, layout, planning, building form, material selection, solar control and details that reduce thermal bridging are key.
However, more than this, our project reflects my idea of a home: spaces as a background driver for family activities – functional, inter-connected and well-proportioned. This design goes back to personal key experiences of places and remembers not only the building features but the interactions it generates and why.
Paradoxically, the building then becomes active: different spaces are connected to allow for supervision or to stimulate conversation. Bathrooms become social, there are little nooks to accommodate daily activities and make them enjoyable.
Materials and details were chosen and developed for what they can offer: solar heat radiating from walls, natural ventilation to feel the breeze, timber posts you can lean against and benches you can jump on. And hopefully unnoticed.
Material Used :
1. Olnee Rammed Earth – Rammed Earth Walls
2. Hurford’s Shou Sugi Ban - Charred Timber
3. Corian – Kitchen run Benchtop - Design White
4. Artedomus – Kitchen Splashback - Inax Pom Ponette
5. Urban Salvage – Kitchen Island Benchtop - Recycled Blackbutt
6. Lapege – Bathroom Floor tiles - Colombino RB36
7. Signorino – Bathroom Wall tiles - Opal White
8. Urban Salvage – Bathroom Timber Lining Boards – Wormy Chestnut
9. V-ZUG – Oven - combair-steam SL CSSLZ60g
10. V-ZUG – Dishwasher - adora 60 SL GS60SLZGVi
11. Franke – Kitchen sink - ATON ANX 221 S/S LH drainer
12. Bolero – Pantry sink - BOX 210-50
13. V-ZUG – Induction cooktop - GK56TIMS
14. Bette – Bath - lux 1800x800 B3441WOB
15. Dulux – paint - Lexicon Half