Material: Rendered strawbale
Set in thick bushland, the site is in an extreme bushfire risk area. Rendered strawbale has excellent fire resistant properties and there was no hesitation to use this as the walling material which would help to keep the house warm during Wheatsheaf’s notoriously cold winters. The use of externally exposed timber was restricted to the fascias only. The south verandah is supported on slender steel posts and the north shading awning is entirely suspended from the cantilever skillion roof with steel droppers.
The mono-pitched roof of the house and garage simplified plumbing runs for water harvesting as only a single gutter on each building was required, with the two zincalume water tanks located in-between.
Stunning interior spaces have not been compromised for the passive thermal performance of the house. The living and dining areas have raking ceilings opening up high-light windows to the north, flooding the interiors with natural light and warmth in winter. The carefully considered roof overhangs and suspended awning start to block the direct solar gain just as the weather begins to become uncomfortably warm. Deep rafter sections and trusses allow a lofty layer of polyester and celluose insulation above the ceiling, and our standard included foil-backed insulation blanket draped over the roof battens provide an additional layer of resistance to heat gain at the roof level.
We have used rendered mudbrick as internal partition walls which offer both thermal mass and a natural soft texture to contrast against the straightness of the plasterboard ceilings. Together with the subtly undulating strawbale walls with their thick window reveals, there is a harmony of soft and hard, straight and curved, light and shade which provide a tranquil haven in a thouroughly modern design appropriate to its setting.