Architecture: Transformer House

Mar 29, 2010
  • Article by Online Editor
  • Photography by Andrew Wuttke
  • Designer
  • Architect Breathe Architecture

The brief for this project was to design a new sustainable dwelling to the rear of an existing house in Brunswick. With obstacles including a limited site area, existing heritage components and irregular easements, the small building became defined and bound by its constraints. Existing stable walls form the edges, while the exterior form visibly slopes away from an adjacent transformer clearance zone.

The first floor is a passively designed, internally exposed and suspended concrete slab with hydronic heating coils running through it. The coils are preheated by the winter sun, and circulate heat throughout the rooms of the dwelling. With maximum northern exposure in all living spaces, the built form is calculated and finished to minimise solar heat gain in the summer while maximising winter sun. Automated high level saw-tooth windows promote natural convection, allowing hot air to escape thereby removing the need for air conditioning and reducing energy consumption.

Materials and fixtures were sourced for their water and energy efficiency, while a solar hot water system and rain water storage keep operational costs and the building’s environmental impact to a minimum. Through an environmentally considerate and innovative design, Transformer House provides a contemporary and practical architectural solution articulated by its constraints.

*Team* Project Architect: Jeremy McLeod; Design Architect: Craig Byatt

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