This amazing modern home in Northcote, Melbourne, features a building envelope that was carefully shaped to ensure maximum sun exposure in the backyard. The owners wanted to be sure they had full sun exposure in their garden to be able to grow vegetables year round, so Australia-based firm, Harrison & White focused upon smart solar design as one of the home's most important strategies. The architects used a technique called "reverse shadow casting" to design the exterior and included sustainable materials like recycled plastic decking for the shade screen.
While the design for the home may strike some as odd due to its complex angles, Harrison & White designed it that way on purpose. The architects found that one of the key issues in Australian housing is how we can use the sun to improve new and existing houses, so they wanted to form a house around the idea of maximizing light in a garden space. Sunlight hits the garden and backyard all day long without the imposition of any shadows from the structure of the house.
The completely sunlight garden space was achieved by cutting away parts of the home to allow both morning and evening sun to hit the backyard. This process is called reverse shadow casting – taking the area of space that is to have direct light and extruding it along the different paths of the sun. This area is then subtracted away from the area of the house, and what is left is a complex form designed with the aid of computer modeling.
After the form of the home was decided upon, the exterior of the house was fitted with a shade screen and ballustrading made out of NewTech™-CleverDeck® composite decking, which is made from recycled milk bottles and risk husks. The shade screen helps protect the interior of the home from solar exposure. Bamboo was used for the flooring inside the two-bedroom home, and durable white-coated steel was used for the exterior. The ground floor living space opens completely to the back yard and garden, while accordion doors aid in natural ventilation.
Images © Ben Hosking