Townsville trio: Nine-star eco cottages
A trio of heritage-style cottages in north Queensland are proving heritage can be state-of-the-art.
|The three new homes in Townsville have been awarded an impressive nine-star building energy rating, thanks to their eco design and sustainable features.
Their nine stars are not their only big achievement: they were built in just 14 weeks – during which time there was 500ml of rain in the area.
Architect Mark Hall designed the cottages – on the site of a former big old house – with both eco-friendly practises and appearance in mind.
Cottages in keepingEnsuring the new homes fitted in with the established street scene was critical to getting approval from the council.
“It took about six months to get the plans approved by the council,” explained Hall. “The main issue was that the site is adjacent to heritage-listed houses on three sides – the street is even known locally as ‘Heritage Street’.”
It was important that the designs were in keeping with the area. So, for example, the roofs are common pitched to match the neighbourhood’s homes.
“The surrounding houses are of a Californian bungalow style, so I incorporated a gable of exposed timber,” added Hall. “Without outright copying the surrounding houses, I brought in elements of their design.”
Construction challengesThe 14-week timescale of the build spanned from January to May – which was a wet four months in north Queensland. But the project was able to go ahead through the rain.
“Because we used lightweight framing, we could still get access to the site and continue working through all the rain,” explained Hall.
“The builder was able to stand the frames when it was muddy because there wasn’t any heavy equipment on the site, which was a big bonus. It meant that the builder and carpenter could carry on with their work, as there was no necessity to bring in steel or welders to fabricate things.”
Achieving the nine starsFactors including orientation, lightweight materials, the relatively small size of the three-bedroom cottages and their layout contributed to the nine star energy rating.
“Orientation is one of the biggest factors,” said Hall. “I wanted the main length of the homes to run east-west, with the shortest wall facing the street, so that the heat on the walls from the sun is vastly reduced.”
Lightweight materials were key to achieving the desired look within the required timeframe.
“The use of the Scyon™ Linea™ weatherboard was a big advantage because we could match it in with the weatherboard of the other houses in the street,” explained Hall.
The timber frames enabled heavy insulation to be included in each cottage, as well as a greater floor area. “Traditionally in north Queensland, 200ml concrete block is used,” Hall said. “By using the timber frame, we reduced that to 100ml on each wall, which amounts to a lot of space over the whole house.”
Taking on the project as their own, Hall and his wife Lisa are now in the process of leasing out the cottages to tenants.
Very beautiful, light weight material and planed nice design and implementation. Its really attracted me
Deve 01-Jun-2012 08:45 PM