The architectural incarnations of this property in inner Sydney straddle more than a century, and represent the flux in design conventions over those years. The original shopfront was constructed pre-1900 in traditional Federation-era style. Now, the 90 square metre site holds an innovative sustainable home by CplusC Architectural Workshop that reflects the future of residential architecture in Australia.
‘As an architect and a builder, Welcome to the Jungle House is the culmination of several decades of work in the area of sustainable and regenerative architecture,’ says director of CplusC Architectural Workshop and homeowner, Clinton Cole. ‘Building my own family home was an opportunity to bring every aspect of that experience and knowledge into a single vision.’
The triangular site resembles Manhattan’s iconic Flatiron building in shape, but not in style. The original speckled masonry facade and a couple of window openings were the only parts of the dilapidated shopfront’s heritage overlay. While the rendered masonry was retained as is, the protected windows were framed in steel, as a nod to the pre-Federation palette.
The rendered concrete frontage extends down both sides of the corner, whilst bursts of foliage spill over window sills. The streetfacing addition extends beyond this point, and captures solar energy from the solar panels on its north-west facing facade.
‘It is my mantra that there should be no distinction between architecture and sustainable architecture – all good architecture must be sustainable,’ declares Clinton.
The rooftop houses a veggie garden and neighbouring fishpond, which is facilitated by an aquaponics system. Fish-water waste is pumped to the productive patch to feed the growing vegetables with water and bacteria. Rainwater is also caught, filtered and then siphoned back into the fishpond.
In terms of energy, the home has a 4.2kW solar energy system with 10kW battery storage. This is the main power source for the family’s electric car, and powers the smart home system which auto-regulates the shading, lighting and aquaponics system within the house to match passive cooling principles. Internal volumes are designed to maximise ventilation, which cools the house with natural air flow. Paired with concrete slabs that absorb heat in the day and release it during the cooler nights, the house can maintain a comfortable temperature without much mechanical intervention from air conditioners or heaters.
‘At universities around the world, topics of sustainability and passive design strategies are becoming the focal point of education,’ says Clinton. ‘The new generation of architects and designers are equipped with the necessary knowledge to build and evolve our built environment into greener cities.’ Let’s hope new homes like this become the norm!
See more projects from CplusC Architectural Workshop here.