carrajung home – designed for bushfire bal40
The client thought her home would look like an underground bunker. She was pleasantly surprised.
A home designed in a high Bushfire Attack Level (BAL), located in South Gippsland, Victoria, Australia, is another master work from the award winning architects, BP Architects. With expertise in green architecture, this home has been designed for a medical doctor in search of a lifestyle change.
The house is surrounded by the serenity of nature and lies in an area of high BAL 40 and BAL FZ. A home is supposed to be a safe haven for its occupants so the location greatly impacted on the design decisions for this home. Although living in a high bushfire zone can be a cause of apprehension, it is possible to design and build houses with a high degree of bushfire safety. Understanding that leaving the house early, if at risk of bushfire attack, is always the first option.
The design for this home was sent to the Country Fire Authority (CFA) who not only approved the design but stated that it was one of best designs that they had seen in relation to considering safety against the threat of bushfire attack.
A Brief Description
The Carrajung home is a semi-berm building, built into the side of an existing hill located on a rural allotment of over 100 acres. The house has been designed keeping the client’s needs and residential purposes in mind. Important in the design of the home, was the transition for the client going into a semi-retirement phase looking for a lifestyle change.
BP Architects specialise in designing homes that can reduce your ecological footprint and this home is no different. The house is off-grid and has no mains water. The photovoltaic power supply, with battery storage, evacuated tube solar hot water and 120,000L rainwater tank makes it self-sufficient for these amenities. The north facing windows, sun shading devices and interior thermal mass add to factors that make this house environmental friendly.
Detailed Feature Description
The client looked forward to her lifestyle change which included her new home; a home designed to use modern green energy technology, achieving energy autonomy and using energy intelligently, in a sustainable, comfortable living environment. The Client’s future hobbies and activities were considered and accommodated in the home design.
The surrounds of the house consisted of natural beauty including remnants of the Tarra Bulga National Park and native and plantation timber forests. The home was designed in a way that this scenic beauty is enjoyed from all aspects of the home to enhance quality of living.
High Risk bushfire design was considered throughout the design of this home. The panoramic view of the home provided clear views to detect any threat of bushfire. The existing hillside, running down behind the house, continues over the building as a roof garden. Bushfires will burn more slowly coming down a hill than up a hill. To read more about bushfire behaviour click here. The cellar doubled as a smoke and fire proof room and an emergency escape route was provided within the home.
The Client said that she thought that her new home would be an ‘earth shelter home that looked like a bunker’, given the architectural brief and siting of her new home. She was delighted to see her home take form and shape without the look or feel of an underground shelter. She particularly liked the way the building responded to the landscape with the faceted facade, which added dimension and variation to the home.
The Weather Conditions
The region where this house is located is prone to extreme climate conditions. Winter can bring snow while summer temperatures can exceed 40°C. In these extremes of climate, the home was designed to maintain comfort for all weather conditions.
This house is a good example of a sustainable building and a home designed for bushfire attack. The home is self-sufficient given its rainwater tanks, photovoltaic array, efficient wood stove. Air transfer ducts move warm air into bedrooms with just a flick of the switch.
Sustainable home designs are a speciality of BP Architects and the Carrajung Home is an exemplary example with highly insulated light weight building envelope and thermal mass within. The glazed north facing facade is optimal for winter solar thermal heating.
The house is a skewed rectilinear design with large sliding doors maximizing the view of the surrounding panorama of nature and optimizing the amount of the winter sun. Curved perforated metal sunscreens protect against the summer sun and enhance the facade.
Clerestory windows above the kitchen allow north light to filter to the back of the building. The roof garden ties the house to the surrounding hill and landscape.
“Visitors have remarked on the beautiful and functional design of the house”. Petra, Owner
House Size: 164.4 m2
- Semi-Berm building
- Sod roof garden and green roof
- BAL 40 bushfire design
- Bushfire safe zone
- Bushfire escape route
- Roof designed to BAL FZ level
- Photovoltaic power supply with battery storage
- Evacuated tube solar hot water
- 120,000L rainwater tank
- North orientation
- Passive solar design
- Polished concrete floor adjacent to north windows
- Sun shading and solar pergola
- Cross ventilation
- Secure night time cooling
- Thermal mass
- North facing clerestory
- Clinka block highly insulated walls
- High performance double glazed windows and doors
- Designed for flexible zoning.