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Sustainable Architecture in Australia by RIAI Overseas Members ‘Melbourne Design Studio’

Published: Thursday, January 10, 2013

 

 

RIAI Member Marc Bernstein and his award-winning architectural design firm Melbourne Design Studios have designed an ʻenergy positiveʼ home, which generates more energy than it uses. The house has won first prize in this yearʼs “Melbourne Design Awards” (Category Architecture - Best Residential Proposed) and in the Building Designers Association of Victoria's ʻ2012 10 Star Challengeʼ for single dwellings.

Director Marc Bernstein explains: “The house is based on passive solar design principles, with some clever tricks mixed in. First, we create a comfortable living environment that uses little or no energy to heat or cool. Then, we find ways to create additional energy to offset what is being used by the household, or even for positive gearing.  The brief for the 10 Star Challenge was to design a house with a 10 Star Energy Rating. At 10 Stars, next to no energy is required to heat or cool a building. “To achieve this, we have designed a house with a high performance building envelope, and large north-facing windows. Living spaces and bedrooms harness heat from the sun in winter and exclude it in summer. Thermal mass and insulation, together with adjustable sun-shading and cross-ventilation, help maintain a comfortable interior”, says Bernstein.

In the PassivHaus, living spaces and bedrooms face north, thereby using free and everlasting solar heat for warmth. A services and amenities ʻblockʼ along the south side acts as a thermal buffer. Following modernist traditions, these two distinct functions (living and services) create the architectural form.

The BDAV competition jury said: “Melbourne Design Studio's holistic approach to sustainable design, their attention to detail and function, and the house's clean and contemporary look impressed the judges. Melbourne Design Studios has designed a contemporary house with interesting street appeal. Social sustainability has also been incorporated thoughtfully into the design, with a mix of communal and private indoor and outdoor living spaces.”

 

Categories: Architecture


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