While the Thornbury House in Victoria, Australia looks like a new modern construction, it's actually a renovation on a classic 'Californian Bungalow'. Local firm Steffen Welsch Architects turned the small and dark bungalow into a light-filled space with a new modern living extension sandwiched by rammed earth walls. Passive solar design, solar shading, energy efficient heating and cooling, local and eco-friendly materials, plus a photovoltaic system make the Thornbury House a seriously sustainable home.
The owners of the Thornbury bungalow tasked Steffen Welsch Architects to create a more sustainable home that met their family’s needs. The original home that faces the street was relegated to contain the private bedrooms. Meanwhile a new extension off the back provided space for the living room, dining room, kitchen and even a second story with a guest room and study. Before the renovation, lack of daylight was a big issue for the family and they wanted natural light to fill the home. Passive solar design was first utilized to maximize the free energy from the sun pulling light in from all sides and shading the home where necessary.
Timber slats on the exterior from sustainably-harvested red western cedar provide interesting exterior texture and protection from the sun and weather. Rammed earth walls form the foundation for the back extension and serve as sustainable thermal mass, while high performance insulation and windows minimize energy loss. A new winter courtyard off the old part of the house and connecting to the new provides a sheltered outdoor space and more light for the living room. Hydronic floors and a heat pump provide energy efficient heat in the winter and natural ventilation with carefully placed operable windows keep things cool in the summer. Finally, the home is equipped with a 1 kW photovoltaic system on the roof to supplement the home’s energy use.
Images ©Steffen Welsch Architects