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A Zero-Waste, Two Bedroom Home In The Middle Of Melbourne’s Federation Square!

Sustainable Homes

There’s a lot of talk out there about sustainable homes, and design features that can contribute to a low environmental footprint. But how many homes can say they’re truly 100% zero waste? And how many of those sit smack-bam in the middle of Melbourne’s CBD? Probably only one!

That *one* is Future Food System by visionary designer and anti-waste crusader, Joost Bakker. Sitting on 87 square metres of Federation Square (probably Melbourne’s most prime real estate!) with a kitchen sporting energy-efficient Miele appliances, and homewares and bedding from Country Road, the self-sufficient residence provides shelter, food and energy – basically everything its inhabitants need to survive.

So much so, that chefs Matt Stone and Jo Barrett will live there for the next two months – consuming only what the house provides!

3rd February, 2021

Chefs Jo Barrett (front) and Matt Stone (right) will live in the Greenhouse designed by Joost Bakker (left) for the next two months. Photo – Dean Bradley for Country Road.

The house is designed to produce everything the residents need to survive: shelter, food and energy. Photo – Dean Bradley for Country Road.

Designer and zero-waste crusader, Joost Bakker. Photo – Dean Bradley for Country Road.

The two-bedroom house contains a bathroom, kitchen and two gardens (one on the terrace and one of the rooftop) which provide year-round produce and a home for plant and water life (such as yabbies, mussels and fish). Photo – Dean Bradley for Country Road.

Most of the plants in the atrium will not mature for another 5 years, meaning the best version of the house is still to come! Photo – Dean Bradley for Country Road.

The house has been fitted out with kitchen and laundry appliances by Miele. Photo – Earl Carter for Miele.

A Miele steam oven is just one of the appliances Future Food System is fitted with, all of which run off solar power! Photo – Earl Carter for Miele.

The house has been fitted out with kitchen and homewares from Country Road. Photo – Dean Bradley for Country Road.

The terrace garden contains a beehive and over 200 plant species! Photo – Dean Bradley for Country Road.

All bedding and homewares by Country Road. After Matt and Jo finish their two-month residency, the house will move from Federation Square to become Joost’s mother’s house in Monbulk. Photo – Dean Bradley for Country Road.

The bathroom sits adjacent to a large mushroom wall. The steam from the shower soaks through the wall to create a humid environment for the mycelium, which in turn produce carbon dioxide to feed the lush plants in the nearby atrium. It’s a self-sustaining environment for all kinds of life! Photo – Dean Bradley for Country Road.

Future Food System will be in Federation Square for the next two months. Photo – Earl Carter for Miele.

Sasha Gattermayr
Wednesday 3rd February 2021

‘It’s like you’re living in an ecosystem.’ – Joost Bakker

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.

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net