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Transformer House

Breathe Architecture

Victoria Entries 2010

Winner of The Best Southern Region (Tasmania & Victoria) Award, 2010

Winner of The Sustainable Design – Residential Award, 2010

The brief for this project was to design a new sustainable dwelling at the rear of an existing small terrace house site in Brunswick. At 50m2, this became the smallest sub-division in The City of Moreland. Bounded by heritage stable walls, the building opens up to the north to capture the winter sun and the view into the canopy of the towering eucalypt to the east, while its timber clad exterior form folds away from an adjacent electrical transformer.

The first floor is designed as both heat sink and radiator. The suspended concrete slab has hydronic heating coils running through it; which are preheated by winter sun and in turn circulate heat throughout the dwelling, radiating both heat and coolth to the first and ground floor below. With maximum northern exposure to all living spaces, the built form is calculated and finished to minimise solar gain in summer while maximising winter sun. Automated high level saw tooth windows promote natural convection processes to exhaust hot air, reducing energy consumption and removing the need for air conditioning. Timber battens on the Western facade minimise heat loading through the ventilated cavity between rainscreen and wall surface.

The material palette was kept to robust, highly durable natural finishes. With un-oiled class 1 Spotted Gum (corymbia citriodora) cladding and battens, stainless steel fastenings, existing brickwork, and clip-lock steel cladding; the building envelope is designed to last. Interiors have been finished in a simple range of whites, with a charcoal pigmented concrete floor to the living areas, and an off form concrete ceiling to the bedrooms.

Through an environmentally considerate and innovative design, Transformer House provides a new place to live for a small urban family.
Entered into:
  • Best Use Of Solid Timber Cladding, 2010
  • Residential Class 1, New Buildings (Single family dwellings/townhouses), 2010
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