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Half-moon-shaped Crofthouse blends into its environment

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July 23, 2013

Crofthouse is located on the south coast of Victoria and offers its owners a simple and su...

Crofthouse is located on the south coast of Victoria and offers its owners a simple and sustainable home

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Located on the south coast of Victoria, Australia, Crofthouse offers its owners a simple and sustainable home which blends into its natural environment while also capturing the vast coastal views.

The home boasts a low embodied structure made from natural and locally sourced materials, including a timber frame and internal high thermal inertia pressed sand walls. Designed by Australian architect James Stockwell, the house was recently awarded the Alan and Beth Coldicutt Award for Sustainable Architecture as part of the 2013 Victorian Architecture Awards.

The striking eco-home, which almost looks like a grounded spacecraft, was described by the judges as a standout entry from a field of 240 buildings. “Crofthouse may be the introduction to a new architectural paradigm where man-made buildings do actually work in such a way with nature that they actually work as one,” stated the judges.

“Ground hugging buildings and earth integrated buildings blend with the landscape and reduce 'wind chill' factor on the building,” James Stockwell tells Gizmag. “Use of softwood trusses and rammed earth is quite low tech and can be approached by most builders and owners.”

The home is shaped in the form of a half moon, which gives privacy to the outer rooms and maximizes the surrounding views. The shape of the home also meant that Stockwell didn’t need to build conventional walls or closed spaces. Each room remains open and spacious and each zone is delineated via a staggered wall panel. “The house looks shielding and internalized but when you are in it it is completely open and you can see in all directions past the angled buttresses,” says Stockwell.

Stockwell was inspired by the idea of creating a home that seemed to be formed by the elements of wind, rain and sun. He combined all of these elements into the home through the inclusion of a passive solar system, fast growing landscaping to shelter the home from the wind while also providing firewood for the winter season, and lower wall heights, which allow the open internal spaces to passively regulate their temperatures via thermal mass and cross ventilation. This means the home will remain cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

The home’s modern and simple interior finishes include polished concrete floors, soft wood paneled walls and ceilings, enormous double glazed floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a large central fireplace. Furthermore the shape, design and materials used provides the home with a high fire protection, something of the utmost importance in Australian regional areas.

Source: James Stockwell, Victorian Architecture Awards via Dezeen

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema.   All articles by Bridget Borgobello
6 Comments

stunning !

duh3000
24th July, 2013 @ 07:03 am PDT

It would blend a lot better if it wasn't bright white. Some various height plants around a rooftop patio would break up the top lines plus have great views and breeze.

jerryd
24th July, 2013 @ 11:53 am PDT

"...a new architectural paradigm..." Hardly. See: Frank L. Wright (1869-1959)

As for using rammed earth, I attended a weekend hands-on workshop on rammed earth in 1984. It's cheaper and better, but little appreciated.

The concrete floor is a bad idea, but looks good. It's too hard. An earthen floor or some cushioned flooring is not a luxury, it is necessary.

With that much glazing the new glass that dims with a charge would be nice.

voluntaryist
24th July, 2013 @ 01:15 pm PDT

Although beautiful and biophilic, the large dimensions, mere double glaze glass, and huge fireplace, lack of PV and mention of a suitably sized cistern, makes me wonder about its ability to flourish within an equitable share of earth's carrying capacity-i.e. be sustainable. Nothing mentioned of its net zero impacts on energy, water, wastes. transportation or food. Using natural materials and designs does not make it sustainable, and I am shocked frankly that it was rewarded the lan and Beth Coldicutt Award for Sustainable Architecture. They need to do some homework in defining sustainability beyond what the eye can see.

Beautiful-yes, sustainable-no.

David

ADVENTUREMUFFIN
24th July, 2013 @ 03:58 pm PDT

Not a real-world design. Kids would run up the slopes and fall off the edges splat onto the concrete. When they got older they would try the same thing on skateboards.

If you built it, it would either end up with nasty fences around the bottom to keep people off it, or barrier rails over the drops. Wouldn't look quite as cool then.

Doug MacLeod
26th July, 2013 @ 08:16 am PDT

Space is not an issue here in Australia, water is . The concrete floor is a very good idea not only does it avoid the destructive termite problem but it also has a cooling affect on the building.

Given that this a building is all about Austraian conditions I think it's a pretty good design.

As for the problems with kids well I think it's a non issue. I can assure you kids in the bush tend to cope quite well with life's little problems. A funny looking building is unlikey to faze them.

Terence Munro
30th July, 2013 @ 09:55 pm PDT
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