The Toxic-Free House
1. Project Overview
A healthy environment, and a healthy home.
Who wouldn’t want that? Yet a lot of our building products today are still not really ʻhealty productsʼ. Low-VOC building materials, or things like E0 MDF, become more and more available, but some of them are still not the norm in Australia, and to go the extra step from Low-VOC to No- VOC is even harder.
This house extension is an attempt at getting those things right, creating a truly sustainable building and a happy and healthy natural living environment. Have a look yourself and let us know what you think…
2. Project Brief
The clients were keen on creating a healthy home, with lots of natural materials. The existing early 20th century home was to be refurbished, with new living and sleeping accommodation to be added over 2 levels.
3. Project Innovation, or ʻthe buzz we like to createʼ
After lots of research we found what we were looking for, and we decided to make nature part of the plan : A series of selected air-cleansing indoor plants were designed into the floorplates, to help remove any possibly remaining miniature levels of toxicity.
4. Design Response
We have designed the extension so that nature could ʻflow throughʼ, from the northfacing garden to an internal courtyard, that takes northern sunlight deep back into the existing house. Natural light and cross-ventilation were the key factors for the design.
Product research and selection are a main focus in this project, ensuring healthy and sustainable buildng materials, with little embodied energy. Like all our projects, the architecture is based on passive solar design principles , with additional active systems where meaningful, balancing economic and ecological sustainability. The ʻLiving Timber Boxʼ provides a cleverly designed facade that incorporates various layers of sunshading, glazing, insulation, thermal mass, decorative surfaces and built-in seating/planting. In an alternative option, we toyed with the idea of a green roof following the vernacular line of the existing house while morphing into a contemporary extension.
6. Year – Type – Size
2011 – Residential / Sustainable Family Home / Toxic Free – Total area approx 220 sqm
Australian House & Garden Magazine (November 2013)
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