This home breaks all the passivhaus rules; poor orientation, sprawling form, complex roofs, too much volume; yet it works like a charm! It is a demonstration of passivhaus at its best, performance driven design showing that, in the right hands, passivhaus is a flexible, adaptable standard that can deliver healthy, comfortable buildings on ‘imperfect’ sites.

This home replaces a defunct weatherboard cottage that was well past its use by date. Once renovation was ruled out, the challenge of north to the street and a sloping block to the south was wholeheartedly embraced.

A productive mango tree in the rear yard was retained, further shaping the home and its response to the site. A visual connection to the rear garden is balanced with a north facing courtyard that provides a sheltered space for eating.

The elongated plan of the home is connected by an extensive green roof between the two gable forms, a response to the traditions of the area, while balancing the geometric challenges of steeply pitched roofs and self-shading.

The home generously provides for the family, including dedicated home offices for two professionals.

The main gathering space soars skywards, bringing with it abundant daylight and winter warmth when needed.

The main bedroom sits atop the dining space, enjoying separation from the activities below, while getting the view across the green roof towards the tree-lined street beyond – a true oasis.

A hardwood timber staircase and batten screen partition the living and dining areas. The forest-like rising of blackbutt adds depth and texture to the space, contrasting well against the burnished concrete floor.

This home is a certified passive house, the sixth in New South Wales.


Landscape Architect: Elke Haege Thorvaldson

Photography by Petri Kurkaa

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