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Indoor/outdoor connectivity defining sustainable Aussie home

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A sustainable contemporary home with plenty of transparency and light was re-designed by Austin Maynard Architects, located in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Comprised of 2,744 square feet (255 square meters) of living space, the clients requested that their home have just the right amount of space for their family. Since the home is surrounded by much larger houses, the homeowners wished to their home to be more scaled down. The design team created large openings and seamless indoor-outdoor connections. They made this modest-sized home feel spacious and wide. The finished result is an abode that offers half the size of its neighbors without making a compromise to livability.

The architects stated that the owners were “able to open up to the community rather than permanently hiding or fortifying themselves. As Australian homes and culture become increasingly inward looking and protective, the architects are reacting against this trend. This house opens up to the outdoors, both private and public. Importantly a house that can be very transparent needs to be able to adapt to multiple privacy needs. Hence we have installed upwards blinds to give the owners control over their level of privacy.”

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“How many times have you seen huge windows with their blinds permanently down? This happens because of the binary a downward blind creates. A downward blind provides no privacy until it is completely down. An upward blind enables you to cut out almost all view into a home while still being able to look out to the garden, and the street beyond. This gives control over all levels of privacy and intimate control over the light let into each space.”

RELATED: Natural materials integrated in modern property: Oban House

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What We Love: An amazing home with sustainable design features, openness and transparency and all around good design. This home is aesthetically pleasing both inside and out. It is the perfect size for livability and meets the lifestyle needs of its homeowners…. and its kind of cool that you can hang out on the roof, accessible from the master bedroom. Plenty of fantastic design features throughout. What do you think, do you like the design of this sustainable Aussie pad?

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RELATED: Modern Living in Australia: East Malvern Residence

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“The ground floor of THAT House is ostensibly open, however the arrangement of spaces allows the owners to be together, or secluded, or any level of engagement in between. For example someone could be quietly reading in the study, whilst another family member watches cartoons in the sitting space, and two others are discussing football at the dining table. They are within a large, shared area, however it is not a noisy open plan, nor is it a series of enclosed cells. THAT House enables the residents to be as engaged or as removed from the family as much as they wish at any time.”

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“This is not a small home, nor a solution or ‘new prototype’ for Australian housing. However within its context THAT House is defiant and resistant. THAT house is a conscious effort to build a home that is almost half the floor area of its neighbours, yet without compromise of spatial types, functions and quality. The fear of not having enough, or leaving something out that you may need later, is a real fear. However with good design and planning, modest size homes are not compromising. In fact due to their access to the garden and the sophisticated nature of their internal spaces, well designed smaller homes are far superior to their bulky, poorly-considered neighbours.”

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Sustainable Design Features: Sustainability is at the core of this home. The architects have optimized passive solar gain into all north facing windows. All windows are double glazed. We have no glazing on western facades and limited glass on the eastern facades. White roofs drastically reduce urban heat sink and heat transfer internally. High performance insulation is everywhere. Along with active management of shade, and passive ventilation demands on mechanical heating and cooling are drastically reduced. A large water tank has been buried within the rear yard. All roof water is captured and reused to flush toilets and water the garden. Where possible they have sourced local trades, materials and fittings. Solar panels with micro-inverters cover the new roof.

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Photos: Tess Kelly

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