Adaptable Infill Housing

This project takes its inspiration from 1950s contemporary designed homes in both design and lifestyle. In response to the site, the project orients living areas to the northern aspect creating a connection to the streetscape and community. The project suggests a deliberate blurring between outside and inside. Large north and south facing windows within the main living areas provided a connection between the street and a private courtyard space to the rear of the house. With the slope of the site falling away from the north side boundary, the design utilises the natural slope of the site and a uniform ceiling height on the ground floor level to create volume and grandeur in the kitchen and living areas. The design prioritises a separate access to the dwelling from the secondary street, over the extension of the existing driveway of the front property, establishing a street frontage for the project and contributing to street surveillance.

Within the budget of the build, double glazing is placed within the northern and southern elevations and all glazing has been eliminated to the east and west to avoid heat gain, providing a greater environmental benefit over what the majority of the market provides. Windows have also been strategically placed to maximize cross flow ventilation to the home. Utilizing the Bernoulli Principle the home will draw air through the stairwell area and pull air through the living areas and bedrooms, creating better air flow than a typically designed home. The utilisation of casement windows also assists in this process. As air flows across the back of a casement window it creates a low pressure zone drawing greater volumes of air out of the home than other window styles. Highly insulated lightweight timber framing along with double glazing eliminates heat transfer in and out of the building making it one of the most cost effective and energy efficient construction methods available to the market in Perth. With the inclusion of ceiling fans we would anticipate the design and construction of this home would not require ducted air-conditioning throughout. A heat exchange unit could be included along with a single split system located in a living area to provide continuous fresh air into the home with minimal heat loss. This would allow the home to be closed up for the colder days/months with minimal energy consumption and greater occupancy comfort and healthier environment.

Construction of the project could be done using prefabrication of the walls as panels such as provided by manufacturers such as Offsite. These wall panel manufacturers are experienced with James Hardie products and together provide a good solution for prefabrication and construction. The wall and ceiling timber frame cassettes would be protected from weather and heat penetration by HardieWrap weather barrier. The house would be clad using James Hardie EasyTex panels in a white paint finish, neat v-groove lap joints adding simple detailing to the facades. James Hardie Axon and Stria Cladding is also featured, in matt black and a timber-look finish. This provides longevity over traditional timber, while achieving a natural look. Prefabrication in a controlled factory environment enables the majority of material off cuts to be recycled. This reduces the project’s contribution to the 15 million+ tonnes of waste that is produced in construction throughout Australia each year.
In addition to increased sustainability, using factory construction methods increases the speed of construction and provides a cash benefit to the client. The whole process is more cost effective and sustainable than an on-site build.

The project demonstrates what is possible when sustainability, cost and site are considered equally in the design of infill housing.