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25 Lanark Street
East Brunswick
Victoria 3057
tel: 03 9386 3700

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New Sustainable home at Glenburn

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Our clients were looking for a refuge from their hectic lives in the city. They approached us to design a sustainable, energy efficient country home for themselves and their two young boys that would function as a weekender with the possibility of becoming their permanent residence in the future.

As it was meant to be a refuge for their young family; it had to be low maintenance and it had to have the capacity to accommodate a large extended family and various other visitors. As the property borders a state forest; it is frequently happened upon by errant dirt bikers and adventurers. For this reason; security and vandalism were of major concern to the owners of the land who have suffered vandalism on the property previously.

Tomintoul is a large property nestled between Kinglake National Park, Yarra Ranges National Park and The Cathedral Ranges State Park. It has been through several incarnations including a Trout Farm, a Scout Camp, and its current use which is a cattle farm.The location of the house was chosen towards the back of the property, on a slope with stunning 360 degree views and overlooking a small dam. Visitors approach the house along a winding road, past rolling grassy hills and fields of grazing highland cattle as gradually their refuge from the noise and pace of city life can be spotted across a serene lake; nestled into the side of a hill. By the time one reaches the house; the sights and sounds of civilization are long forgotten.

The cladding and decking material has been chosen with utmost respect for the surroundings. Radially sawn Silvertop is left untreated so it can weather and evolve along side the landscape. It is the intent of the designers that the building feel as if it belongs to the site, and is just as comfortable in its surroundings as the weathered fence posts or the old windmill. The problem of security was elegantly solved with a clever fold-up deck system, that protects the large expanses of glass when the owners are away for extended periods of time.The owners have paid homage to the old Scout Camp by restoring an old ablution block into a large guest house with its own services and views to the lake. This has enabled the owners and indeed the site to still hold large gatherings and accommodate a large number of people.An old windmill on the lake has been restored to pump water up to two old storage tanks which is then used for irrigation and for fire fighting.

That the spacing of the louvers on the sliding timber security screens are located to let in the winter sun but keep out the harsh summer sun is no coincidence. In fact; every material chosen and every detail from the siting and orientation to the window openings have been carefully considered to maximise the energy efficiency and sustainability of the house.

The home was designed in three distinct pavilions connected by linkways to provide privacy and some separation from the busy open plan kitchen, dining and living area. The structure is clad in contrasting horizontal and vertical silvertop timber cladding from Radcon with feature timber battens. Large decks have been provided to the main living pod and master bedroom wing with electric winches to enable them to be closed for security protection

Silvertop square edge external weatherboards from Radial Timber Sales. Silvertop is milled from either native regrowth or plantation Victorian sources using the patented radial sawing process. Radial sawing is a unique Australian developed technology that produces more timber from smaller trees. Unlike conventional sawmilling, this process involves cutting sawlogs into wedge sectors much like cutting up a pizza. Radial cutting patterns work with the natural principles of a log and have many advantages over conventional sawing

Concrete Slab
The concrete slab provides excellent thermal properties to the home enabling the interior to achieve very stable temperature variations. The concrete used was an Eco Blend and the reinforcement bars are made from recycled steel.

Double glazed cedar windows
All the homes windows are double glazed with cedar frames . Maximum usage of cross flow ventilation has been allowed through strategic window placement and by most windows utilizing casement or sliding mechanisms which increase the size of the openable window for maximum summer ventilation. Doors and windows are heavily draft proofed for winter comfort.

Retractable awning blinds have been provided to the north facing decks. They can be retracted in winter to allow maximum solar gain. All other windows have sliding timber screens for shading out summer sun while allowing winter sun to penetrate
the building.

A Chimnees Philippe Radiante 845 two sided exposed slow combustion heater has been installed to heat the entire home. It has sliding glass doors either side allowing the unit to be used either as an open fireplace or a much more efficient slow combustion heater. Timber is sourced totally from fallen trees on the site. Heat shifter ducts have been installed from the living room block with outlets into the other two wings to move hot air from the living room to the other ends of the home. If the sun has been shining on the coldest of winter days no additional heating is required
in the evenings. The Chimnees Philippe is only lit on overcast days

Polyester batts were installed in the walls and ceiling to provide R2.0 to walls and R4.0 to ceiling. Air Cell was used as a roof blanket and due to its excellent reflective properties, has increased the R rating by up to R2.0 in summer giving an overall rating of R6 in summer.

Solar Hot Water
A gas boosted close coupled solar system LX305 with 3 Australis Comfort 200a panels situated on the north facing roof provides all the hot water for the home.

Water catchment and reticulation
The home sits lightly on the land and the owners made a deliberate decision to leave the area around the house clear of garden beds, encouraging the native grasses to re establish. This was both an aesthetic decision and a bushfire precaution. During construction a bushfire came dangerously close to the home necessitating the inclusion of an active sprinkler system for bushfire protection. Water from the large lake is pumped to provide water for the grass and fire sprinkler system. A small header tank also collects storm water from the roof which is then pumped up to two large tanks at a nearby shed. The house is totally independent in water supply.

An all waste Biocycle system has been installed to handle grey water and black water from the house. The waste water produced is used for gardening purposes

The home was designed in three distinct pavilions connected by linkways to provide privacy and some separation from the busy open plan kitchen, dining and living area. The parents have a stunning secluded wing with private ensuite and freestanding bathtub overlooking the lake. Behind the bedhead sits a large walk in robe. An outdoor shower was provided for secluded open air showering.

The children’s and guest wing, features a large playroom with built in bunks to accommodate up to six children and there are two additional guest bedrooms with large sliding doors to the north facing corridor. A cupboard laundry is entered from the corridor, close to the main bathroom with separate shower and bath.

The home achieves a First Rate Rating of 34 points.
A Five Star rating is achieved by 7 points - this building way exceeds this figure to give 7 star performance. It is an extremely high rating for Australian conditions.

The Perfect Fit Sanctuary

Best Australian Architecture 2010

Best Abode 2008

InDesign 2010

Inside Out 2009



Sustainable home design