The site of this Adelaide Hills house was an old pear orchard. Some of the existing mature pear trees were retained for both fruit and shade to the backyard. Pleasant outdoor living spaces are created under the mature trees. The house was designed to a tight budget, and utilises traditional construction techniques so that owner could manage the construction process.
The front door opens to an entry with full height glazing into a sunny courtyard and view of the pool, garden and hillside beyond. The pavilion housing the main Living area is separated from the 2 storey bedroom wing by the 2 courtyards, both providing different outdoor living environments. The Living room has a vaulted ceiling which follows the curve of the roof, providing generous volume to the space.
The northern aspect of the site is optimised for passive solar design. Floor to ceiling glazing in the large living area opens to the north, with a roof overhang designed to allow solar access in the winter and exclude it in the summer. In the winter the sun streams into the living areas warming the terracotta tiled floor which radiates the warmth long after the sun has gone. Additional passive features including internal thermal mass and good cross ventillation combined with the cooler hills climate provides good internal comfort without air conditioning for most of the year. A wood burning heater provides additional warmth in the winter.
Other sustainability features include 45,000 litres of rainwater storage, a sand-bed filter wastewater treatment providing irrigation to the orchard and solar panels providing power.
The combination of the extenal materials used provide colour and earthy texture to the building. Cement based paint applied to the bagged external masonry walls weathers to a patina over time. The corrugated colorbond cladding to the upper storey lightens the mass of the 2 storey wing, and is appropriate to the rural setting.