Australian design studio Talina Edwards Architecture recently completed the Owl Woods Passive House — the first certified Passivhaus project designed by a woman architect in Australia. Located in the Victorian town of Trentham, the sustainable home not only follows Passivhaus standards for an extremely energy-efficient build, but it also adheres to biophilic principles with its pitched roofs in the shape of unique “bird beaks” for solar shading. The project also won the Sustainability Medal at the 2019 Architeam Awards and was an official finalist in the New Home Category at the 2019 Sustainability Awards.

Continue reading below
Our Featured Videos
light wood and gray gabled structures

As the 20th certified Passive House project in all of Australia, the Owl Woods Passive House is designed and constructed to meet strict Passivhaus standards that translate to an airtight building envelope for comfortable indoor temperatures year-round, energy efficiency, durability, controlled ventilation and adherence to passive solar design principles. Due to the building envelope specified for the site, the high-performance home is oriented slightly northwest but includes extended roofs along the western sides to protect the interiors from the afternoon summer sunlight.

Related: This student housing is the largest Passive House-certified building in the Southern Hemisphere

four gabled dark gray roofs
living and dining area with dark wood furnishings, gray sofas, two large windows and a double-pitched ceiling

Inspired by the farmhouses of a Scottish village, where the clients previously lived, the home is organized into four interconnected gable-roofed pavilions. The easternmost wing houses two bedrooms and a shared bath. The central wing, which is topped with two pitched roofs, contains the open-plan living area and service rooms. The wing to the west comprises the master en suite with a sitting room. The home also includes an outdoor deck on the north side and is punctuated with large windows and glazed doors throughout for a constant visual and physical connection to nature and natural light.

white kitchen with dark gray cabinets and light wood countertops
dark wood dining table near a large window

In addition to Passive House certification, the timber-framed project has also earned a NATHERS 7.4-star rating and is solar-ready. The interiors continue the exterior’s palette of natural materials and are finished with low-VOC paints for a healthy home environment.

office with simple wood desks
wood and dark gray gabled building in a snowy landscape

“The Owl Woods Passive House is a unique blend of biophilic design and Passivhaus standards of construction — a balance of creative design outcomes, which focus on how the occupants will feel in their home, along with the integration of building science, which delivers a high-performance home,” the architects explained. “In this aspect, it really is a pioneer project for Passivhaus homes in Australia.”

+ Talina Edwards Architecture

Photography by Tatjana Plitt via Talina Edwards Architecture