Nature is the original zero-waste habitat: an ecosystem that regenerates itself, self-sufficiently, in perpetuity. According to designer/sustainability advocate/anti-waste crusader Joost Bakker – it is the standard of these natural ecosystems that we should be looking to when designing new buildings and cities.
Joost’s new project, Future Food System, is a culmination of this expansive way of thinking. Not only is the two-bedroom residence made from sustainable (meaning responsibly sourced, recycled and recyclable) materials, the impressive structure mimics the cycles and processes of the natural world in its design – creating all its own energy, food and shelter. Each element feeds into the production and sustenance of another part of the building.
‘There are no chemicals, no toxins, no glue,’ explains Joost. ‘The walls have been painted with natural lime, the wall system is made from compressed organic straw and the tiles are made from recycled concrete and can be recycled again.’
Even the timber is naturally felled: wood panels in the corridor were made from a 130 year old cypress tree in Ballarat that was struck by lightning! Every angle of this house’s structure has been thought through, and every possible function of the home mitigates waste, re-directing by-products into useful outcomes.
For example, the bathroom is located just next to a mushroom wall. Steam from the shower soaks through the walls, creating a humid environment for the mycelium to thrive in. These mushrooms then create carbon dioxide, which feeds the greenery living in the adjacent atrium. ‘It’s like you’re living in an ecosystem,’ says Joost.
The kitchen overlooks a terrace garden, which hosts over 200 species of plant life (that’s in addition to the lush varietals already filling the house!) including a veggie patch and beehive. Finally, the rooftop holds a second garden, solar panels and an aquaponics system (aka a makeshift dam for fresh fish, yabbies and mussels to live in!). This water system creates nutrients for the surrounding plant life such as rhubarbs, zucchinis, horseradish and tea. The kitchen itself is fitted with energy-efficient Miele appliances, including a cooktop, fridge, steam oven, dishwasher and rangehood (which is fitted with an ‘eco-motor’ that is 70% more efficient than standard electric rangehoods) – all to be powered by the rooftop solar panels!
‘It’s a system that’s completely zero-waste and non-toxic, it uses only natural materials and allows for a lot of microflora and biodiversity,’ says Joost. ‘You’ve got plants growing over your bed, mushrooms growing in your entry, and an aquaponics system with yabbies, freshwater mussels and freshwaters plants.’
This is the future, people!
House tours and a dinner series will soon be hosted at Future Food System. Bookings can be made here.