A Melbourne workers cottage gets revamped into a solar-powered family home

May 30, 2019 by  
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When a young family with two children approached Melbourne-based practice Gardiner Architects for a renovation and extension of their existing worker’s cottage, sustainable design was at the forefront of their minds. Not only would a small footprint ease the building’s environmental impact, but it would also help the family stick to their modest budget. Consequently, the architects combined passive solar principles with energy-efficient technologies to create the Allan Street House, a solar-powered home full of daylight and contemporary character. Located on a quiet side street in the Melbourne inner suburb of Brunswick, Allan Street House was transformed from a “pokey terrace house” into an open, light-filled house that embraces both indoor and outdoor living. In renovating the property, the architects retained the existing worker’s cottage and added a single-story extension to the rear. In order to ensure the thermal performance of both the new and old structures, the architects compartmentalized the two sections with operable doors, which also offers the added benefit of noise separation. “A tight budget demands lateral thinking to optimise the amount of space, or amount of function, that can be inserted within the least amount of building,” explain the architects. “We employed a few design tricks, such as having the corridor into the new extension expand out to become part of the dining and living room. There is also a study nook at the end of the living area, which is within the same building form, the roof of which continues to the rear boundary to create an external storage area– a cheap, efficient way to gain extra space.” Related: Green-roofed Ruckers Hill House gives curated views of nearby Melbourne Also key to the design was maximizing natural light and creating connections to the outdoors, whether with full-height glazed sliding doors that open up to the backyard or sight lines that bring the eye up and out beyond the cottage. Moreover, the large windows were oriented toward the north for warmth and light, while a large overhang and pergola helps block out the harsh summer sun. For energy efficiency , all the walls and ceilings have high levels of insulation, cross-ventilation is optimized and exposed concrete was used for the floor and equipped with an in-slab hydronic system that provides heating in the communal areas. The home is also topped with solar panels on the roof. + Gardiner Architects Images by Rory Gardiner

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A Melbourne workers cottage gets revamped into a solar-powered family home

Breezy caravan-inspired annex uses passive design for thermal comfort

February 28, 2019 by  
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In Melbourne, Australia, a 1960s family home has been updated with a new contemporary extension that draws inspiration from a traveling caravan. Flanked by lush greenery, the Bent Annexe is filled with natural light and designed to follow passive solar principles for energy efficiency. The modern addition was designed by Australian architectural practice BENT Architecture for an outdoor-loving family of four and their two active Dachshunds. The primary goal of the Bent Annexe was to open the relatively introverted midcentury home up to the garden and bring greater amounts of natural light and ventilation into the living spaces. To that end, the architects removed existing ancillary structures in the rear of the property to make space for the new addition . With the primary living spaces now located in the annex, the architects also took the opportunity to remodel the existing dwelling, which now houses larger bedrooms, a family bathroom, and a second living space. “The trick to making the Annexe feel like a part of the garden is creating green spaces on both sides, by separating the addition from the original home with a courtyard ,” the architects explain of their design process. “Of course, the central courtyard improves cross-flow ventilation and lets north light into the master bedroom, but with full-height windows on both sides of the living area, it also creates the illusion of one continuous space, blurring the boundary between inside and outside.” Related: A 1960s home gets a modern facelift with solar panels and rainwater collection Built to wrap around the original home beneath a continuous roofline, the extension houses open-plan living areas that overlook the landscape through full-height glazing and casement windows. A retractable shading device—a caravan-inspired canvas element—provides shade to a decked outdoor dining area that strengthens the home’s new indoor/ outdoor connection. The use of concrete floors for thermal mass and operable louver windows help passively heat and cool the space to reduce the home’s energy bills. + BENT Architecture Via ArchDaily Images © Tatjana Plitt

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Breezy caravan-inspired annex uses passive design for thermal comfort

A 1960s home gets a modern facelift with solar panels and rainwater collection

February 25, 2019 by  
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Needing more room to accommodate their growing family, a young couple enlisted the help of North Melbourne-based McManus Lew Architects to turn their single-bedroom villa into a modern three-bedroom dwelling. Built in the 1960s as part of a 10-unit development, the property — dubbed Kew Villa — needed to maintain a consistent exterior appearance to match the neighboring buildings; however, the interiors could be changed to better fit the clients’ contemporary lifestyle. The home was also outfitted with solar panels that return excess energy to the power grid, a rainwater catchment system and recycled construction materials. Spanning an area of a little over 1,300 square feet, the increased size of the Kew Villa was made possible with the purchase of a modestly sized and underutilized yard next to the original property. Since indoor/outdoor living was important to the clients, the architects not only retained the home’s existing south-facing courtyard but also added a new deck area on the north side that connects to the surrounding garden. Massive panes of glass and glazed doors create a seamless connection between the indoors and the deck, which serves as an outdoor living room with a built-in bench, planter box and a retractable awning for shade. “[The dwelling] boasts the features of a much more substantial home and demonstrates that comfortable and private family living can be achieved in unexpected places,” the architects said in a project statement. “Materials were selected to both sit comfortably amongst the existing textures and quietly to allow the appreciation of space. Honest timeless materials such as recycled brick , blackbutt timber and plywood work in harmoniously and are both classic and contemporary.” Related: A prefab home in Sydney celebrates indoor-outdoor living Dominated by white walls punctuated with timber surfaces and greenery throughout, the light-filled interior feels bright and spacious. Access to ample natural light and operable glazing helps reduce the energy demands of the home. Energy costs are further offset thanks to a photovoltaic system. Rainwater is collected to service the toilets. + McManus Lew Architects Via ArchDaily Images by Emily Bartlett Photography via McManus Lew Architects

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A 1960s home gets a modern facelift with solar panels and rainwater collection

A gloomy house is revived as a modern solar home built of recycled materials

November 8, 2018 by  
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A dark and gloomy, non-insulated dwelling with zero views to speak of has been dramatically transformed into a bright and sustainable home thanks to the work of local architecture studio Urban Creative . Flanked by 6-meter-tall walls and set on a long and narrow lot in inner Melbourne , 2 Halves Make a Home is a three-bedroom family residence that comprises two structures centered on a light-filled courtyard that allows daylight to penetrate deep into the living areas. Bricks sourced from the original decrepit structure were recycled for the construction of the new home, which features repurposed and sustainable materials throughout, from low-VOC finishes to a solar photovoltaic system and green wall. Faced with a site only 5.5 meters in width, the architects knew that access to the outdoors and light were crucial to making the family residence feel comfortably spacious. To that end, a courtyard was inserted along with walls of operable double-pane glass that blur the line between indoors and out. In addition to allowing natural light to enter the home, the courtyard also promotes passive cross ventilation while the full-height glazing and adjacent masonry party walls help capture early morning solar gain for passive heating in winter. “The original brick party wall has been uncovered and cleaned back to expose its rich warmth throughout the main axis of the dwelling,” the architects explained. “Not only does this avoid the use of new materials to construct this facade, but both dwellings on either side of the party wall serve to insulate each other.” Related: Samurai-inspired home keeps naturally cool in Melbourne Aside from the renovated brick wall and reclaimed brick used for the ground-floor facade, other recycled materials were used wherever possible. Reclaimed timber was used from the stairs and floorboards to the repurposed internal solid timber doors and timber shelves in the living room. Instead of replacing the ground floor structural slab, the architects polished the concrete and added a hydronic heating system. Low-VOC materials and finishes, like Tadelakt — a Moroccan rendering technique based on lime plaster and olive oil soap — promote a healthy indoor living environment. The house is also equipped with a solar array and a rainwater harvesting system. + Urban Creative Photography by Jessie May via Urban Creative

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A gloomy house is revived as a modern solar home built of recycled materials

Olson Kundig solar sail proposal could power up to 200 Melbourne homes with clean energy

October 10, 2018 by  
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Acclaimed architecture practice Olson Kundig is best known for its spectacular residential works in the Pacific Northwest, yet the Seattle-based firm has embarked on somewhat new ground in its recent submission to the 2018 Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) competition . Held this year in Melbourne, the international contest has invited designers to create a large-scale and site-specific public artwork that could generate clean energy for the city. In response, Olson Kundig developed Night and Day, a massive solar sail concept designed to produce 1,000 MWh of clean energy through a combination of solar energy and a hydro battery. Launched as part of Victoria State’s Renewable Energy Action Plan and Melbourne’s 2020 net-zero energy goals, the 2018 Land Art Generator Initiative competition promotes a “clean energy landscape for a post-carbon world.” Olson Kundig’s Night and Day submission taps into that vision with a sculptural hydro-solar generator that uses eye-catching design to bring clean energy to the forefront of the public’s eye. Proposed for St. Kilda Triangle on Port Phillip Bay, the renewable energy power plant could power up to 200 homes with emissions-free energy, 24 hours a day. During the day, the curved solar sail — topped with 5,400 square meters of photovoltaic panels — collects energy and powers a pump that directs water into a suspended hydro battery vessel. At night, that water would be discharged through two Pelton turbines and transformed by a generator into electricity — a design solution that addresses the common problem of energy storage. Modular and scalable, the Night and Day proposal could also be installed at various sites. Related: This massive Sun Ray could sustainably power 220 homes in Melbourne “This was different because it wasn’t just about creating architecture, something for the pleasure of its inhabitants,” said principal and owner Kevin Kudo-King of the submission, which also doubles as a pedestrian bridge. “It also needed to function as a machine, and it needed to generate power.” The winners of the 2018 LAGI Melbourne competition will be announced at an awards ceremony on October 11, 2018 at Fed Square, Melbourne . + Olson Kundig Images via LAGI

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Olson Kundig solar sail proposal could power up to 200 Melbourne homes with clean energy

UNStudio unveils twisting Green Spine high-rise proposal for Melbourne

August 14, 2018 by  
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Dutch architecture practice UNStudio and Australian firm Cox Architecture have unveiled “Green Spine,” their proposal for the $2-billion Southbank Precinct overhaul in Melbourne, Australia. Selected as part of a shortlist that includes the likes of BIG and OMA, UNStudio and Cox Architecture have envisioned a twisting, greenery-covered high-rise for the 6,191-square-meter Southbank by Beulah site. The mixed-use development will be integrated into the urban fabric with a wide array of programmatic features and indoor-outdoor spaces. The twisting “Green Spine” refers to the landscaped space on the street level that appears to seamlessly flow upward to wrap around the two towers and culminates in the “Future Gardens” at the top of the residential tower. The low podium will comprise the majority of the mixed-use spaces and be open to both residents and the wider community. The podium will include a marketplace, retail, entertainment areas and a BMW experience center. The development’s various podiums will cater to the city’s temporary exhibitions and are flexible enough to accommodate different uses from art shows to festivals. “This multifaceted spine is created by the splitting open of the potential single mass at its core, thereby forming two separate high rise structures and causing them to reveal the almost geological strata of their core layers as they rise above a light-filled canyon,” explains UNStudio. “As a result of this design intervention, the towers that result on either side can enjoy porous city views and vastly improved contextual links. The orientation of the Green Spine enables an extension of the public realm on the podium, the continuation of green onto the towers and facilitates orientation to the CBD and the Botanical Garden at the top of the towers.” Related: UNStudio designs cocoon-like pavilion made of 100% recyclable materials The landscaped buildings are expected to mitigate the urban heat island effect, absorb noise and fight against air pollution . The “Green Spine” will be constructed with materials and textures local and native to Australia. The buildings’ high-performance glass facade follows passive design strategies, while external shading fins control solar gain. Energy and water usage will also be minimized wherever possible. + UNStudio + Cox Architecture Images via UNStudio

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UNStudio unveils twisting Green Spine high-rise proposal for Melbourne

Solar-powered home cuts a bold and sculptural silhouette in Melbourne

August 10, 2018 by  
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When Melbourne and Paris-based architecture firm Ola Studio was tapped to create a suburban single-family home in Melbourne , it based its design around the clients’ love for art as well as the industrial loft-like spaces of converted warehouses they were accustomed to. The end result is a partly gabled home that pays homage to its surrounding local and historic context while exuding an undeniably contemporary appearance. The house, named Ross, is powered using a solar photovoltaic array and also follows passive solar principles to minimize energy use. Set on a long rectangular lot in a diverse heritage precinct, the Ross house comfortably fits a family of five, their dog and an art collection. The home is split into two floors with the primary living spaces and a single bedroom on the ground floor, while the master bedroom, two secondary bedrooms and a sitting area are stacked above. Outdoor decks flank both sides of the home to encourage indoor-outdoor living; the family also has access to lawn space and a spacious pool. Ross’ sculptural roofline takes cues from its neighboring structures, both of which are white-painted, single-story period bungalows. The monochromatic color scheme and minimalist material palette is carried over from the exterior to the interior, which serves as a gallery for the client’s art collection. Related: A modular extension boasts a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience “The house is a bold sculptural piece; elegantly defined by its divisible realms,” explain the architects in a project statement. “This includes the public façade and entry, the living area within a secluded garden , and the private realm upstairs, each providing uniquely evocative environments for the public and residents. Upstairs is wrapped in black vertical aluminium angles and is a study in dealing with domestic privacy within the urban environment.” + Ola Studio Images by Derek Swalwell

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Solar-powered home cuts a bold and sculptural silhouette in Melbourne

Hundred-year-old workers cottage transformed into an eco-conscious home

May 7, 2018 by  
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When Altereco Design was approached to overhaul a hundred-year-old worker’s cottage in Melbourne , the clients asked that the renovation leave as small a carbon footprint as possible. As a result, the home—called Melbourne Vernacular—sports a stylish and sustainable redesign that combines recycled materials and modern aesthetics. Located in the inner-western suburb of Yarraville, Melbourne Vernacular retains much of its original structure. The original red brick paving from the backyard was salvaged as an internal feature wall and an external brick wall—doubling as thermal mass for the building—while the original Bluestone foundations and paving found new life as front paving. Local company Cantilever Interiors designed the kitchen, which features Cosentino’s line of ECO countertops made with 80% recycled content and a low-VOC finish. Related: Gorgeous live/work home in Melbourne is built with recycled materials A new insulating green roof tops the home and is complemented with drought-tolerant and native plant gardens. “This industrious approach to build and design reduces associated wasted energy (often synonymous with demolishing the old and building something shiny, modern and new), all the while successfully preserving and celebrating the certain charm that comes with a house of this era,” explained the architects. + Altereco Design Images by Nikole Ramsay

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Fatal cat plague is back after 40 years of remission

February 6, 2018 by  
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Decades ago, feline parvovirus (also known as cat plague and panleukopenia) ravaged cat populations, causing awful symptoms and killing at least half of those it infected, even with the best treatment. Then along came a vaccine, and the disease largely disappeared in pet populations. Now it is cropping up again in Australia. Here’s what you need to know. Feline Parvo is nasty stuff. It wipes out bone marrow and causes bloody diarrhea, vomiting, fever, lethargy, and death in at least half of all cases. Treatment is expensive and intense and involves fluids, medication, anti-virals, opioids and antibiotics. It can even require blood transfusions. Still, many animals die despite treatment. Related: Architects create extraordinary homes for Los Angeles’ feral cats Cats can catch the virus from fecal contact – in litter boxes, from cat-to-cat contact and even on a human’s shoes after being outside. Animal shelters in Melbourne and Sydney recently reported an outbreak of the cat plague in unvaccinated animals. Researchers suspect that wild cats have spread the disease to pet animals. The best way to keep the disease at bay is widespread vaccination – current vaccines have an effective rate of 99%. In Australia, non-profit groups work to help low-income individuals vaccinate their pets and to catch and vaccinate wild felines. Even still, it is important that as many pets as possible are vaccinated to protect herd immunity. When herd immunity falls below 70%, diseases like feline parvo can gain a foothold. Via phys.org Images via Deposit Photos ( 1 , 2 )

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Fatal cat plague is back after 40 years of remission

Zaha Hadid Architects unveils designs for wave-inspired Melbourne apartment tower

September 27, 2017 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects has unveiled designs for the Mayfair Residential Tower, a luxury mixed-use building in Melbourne with spectacular views. Clad in a wave-inspired façade with sculptural bespoke interiors, the 19-story Mayfair draws inspiration from Australia’s landscapes and seascapes. The AUD$330million project will comprise 158 apartments, ranging from 70 square meters to 556 square meters, that will be stacked above ground-floor double-height civic spaces housing a restaurant cafe. Located along a major spine of Melbourne on St. Kilda Road, Mayfair Residential Tower will occupy prime location with enviable views of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Port Phillip Bay, Albert Park, and the skyline of the Central Business District. Zaha Hadid Architects optimized surrounding views by designing large balconies for each apartment as well as floor-to-ceiling glazing . The generous use of glazing and emphasis on outdoor living and views blur the line between building and city, exterior and interior. As with many of Zaha Hadid Architects’ iconic projects, Mayfair features a computational parametric design with complex and eye-catching architectural geometries. In addition to its sculpted effect, the building’s facade was built with an optimizing algorithm to minimize the number of different facade panels required to keep the design within budget. Related: Zaha Hadid Architects designs ecological residential complex for Mexico’s Riviera Maya “Taking its cues from the fluidity within Australia’s landscapes and seascapes, the façade’s composition has evolved from a system of simple wave formations that is further developed to generate variables of the same design language,” wrote the architects. “Using algorithms to determine these variables enables the façade to adapt to the wide variety of different apartment layouts and also adapt to the irregular site.” + Zaha Hadid Architects Images by VA, MrPStudios, and mir

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