Barwon Heads Residence 2011 - Koorameet

Set amongst dense Moonah trees this residence has been named ‘Koorameet’, the indigenous name for the Tawney Frogmouth that frequents the site.

Inspired by the natural story of the site, as told enthusiastically by the owners, the house takes on the layers of vegetation.

Below ground level, it was critical to protect the root systems of the mature Moonah tree and the concrete slab floor created the right sub-floor moisture conditions to allow existing roots to thrive.

At ground level, the house takes on the understorey with connection to the site provided through large expanses of full height glass opening up the view between the tree trunks and bringing the understorey to the edge of the house. Light filters through from the upper level via avoid over the dining area.

At the second level, the house takes on views of the canopy via the deliberate use of glass & framed openings. Natural light is supplemented through highlight windows allowing diffuse light to filter through to the lower level. Highlight windows allow views of the sky & natural light breaks through the canopy.

From the largely transparent base of the ground storey, the density of the tree canopy is translated in the upper-level timber cladding, chosen to take on the aged grey tones of natural timber, while representing the density of branches viewed from this level. Meanwhile, the patterning created by the natural timber cover straps over the lightweight cladding, act as a projection onto the building. The angled colourbond wall reflects the sky and forms a backdrop to the trees as they criss-cross over it.

Overall the house is a playful reflection of the site textures and light conditions, a comfortable connection to the site for the occupant, while most importantly having the least impact on the existing remnant Moonah vegetation. A house amongst the trees, built amongst the canopy.

Sustainability features include:

  • High level passive solar design – including the polished concrete ground floor, double layer wall and ceiling insulation, low ‘e’ and argon gas filled double glazing to sashless double-hung, casement and fixed glass windows and all glazed doors.
  • Fully automated external blinds to minimize northerly daytime heat loads.
  • A 2.1 kW grid-interactive computer monitored PV system.
  • An 18,600-liter rainwater collection system – to create a near water self-sufficient home.
  • A greywater diversion and sub-surface irrigation system.
  • The incorporation of low embodied energy, sustainable materials, and finishes including recycled timber flooring and water-based floor coatings, plantation structural timber, recycled timber feature stair, the extensive use of spotted gum decking and external ‘screen boards’, external cladding consisting of radially sawn spotted gum timber cladding and low VOC paints and joinery materials.
  • The extensive use of energy-efficient LED &CFL lighting and zoned switching.
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