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Competitions, School / Institutional

Architects Own House- Canberra Australia

An arduous task for an architect is to design his own house, that too in a thirty acre wooded site. At the onset it was decided that the house would be completely cut off from the grid, placed close to the dam, two hundred meters away from the main road with minimum tree felling. Cut and fill would be minimized and inside spaces would engage with the outside from all parts of the house.
A house with three beds, study with formal and informal living and dining, two car garage attached and a two car shed with tool rooms, some distance away.
A small clearance about fifty meters from the dam was chosen. As the temperature variation is big, it was decided to have a lean house with all spaces facing North , to get the sun. In Winter the angle of the sun at midday is approximately 34 degrees and in summer it is about 82 degrees. To handle this the roof was extended to stop the summer sun and get the lower winter sun to penetrate in.
This linear plan was divided into three parts , the Formal living and dining, Informal living and kitchen and two floors of bed rooms stacked one over the other, as a result of the lay of the land. To get the early morning Sun the bedroom block was turned 15 degrees East , Informal living was placed facing North and the formal living turned 15 degrees West to get some extra late evening Sun, to keep the space warm for the guests.
The construction is light weight timber, with well insulated concrete plinth and slab to act as thermal mass. All other surfaces are well insulated to keep the heat in or out as required.
The building is energy efficient.
It has a 100,000 liters Underground Tank to store rainwater that suffices all the requirements of the house. The treated waste water is used for irrigation of the vegetable garden. The Solar Panels generates enough energy for the house. The Heating and cooling is taken care of by the built form and is connected to the bushland outside.
It is a fully self-sustainable house.