Beautiful, Sustainable Building Design


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.

Project Details

A north facing courtyard gives sufficient solar exposure for winter warmth while providing a sheltered space for outdoor dining when desired. The courtyard drives the planning which resolves elegantly in a connecting green roof that bridges the traditional appearance of the street elevation with the need for volume to the rear.

The curve of the ceiling accentuates the drama of the double height void while concealing the ventilation ductwork necessary for high performance homes. The simple lighting provides a great backdrop for the evolving artwork of this growing family.

The main bedroom enjoys the privileged view of the green roof which is taking now hold and providing visual relief as well as doing its part for mitigating the urban heat island effect.

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.

The home is all-electric with just a single split system providing climate control as a supplement to the passive performance. High performance uPVC windows with aluminium facing externally provide a low maintenance solution.

Locally sourced, low embodied energy cladding materials were specified to limit the footprint of the home as much as practical.

Hear directly from the owners on their experience of living in their passivhaus:

Check out other passivhaus projects here and here


Landscape Architect: Elke Haege Thorvaldson

Builder: Distinct Building Services

Photography by Petri Kurkaa

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