By the year 2015, Australia is projected to have nearly 95% of its population residing in urban areas. The Christie Walk development in downtown Adelaide was built as an experiment in how sustainable and dense design could still offer a peaceful and quality lifestyle for its residents. The result is 27 very efficient and healthy households that require much less water and energy than their neighbors. The complex uses a thorough plan that maximizes health and efficiency, making the most of solar energy and providing a lot of outdoor living space on a small amount of land. The development shows how enriching sustainable building can be for a community, making it a pedestrian and plant friendly village.
The project was first developed a decade ago for Urban Ecology Australia (UEA) by the Architect group Ecopolis as the seed for a much larger eco housing development. The medium density project stands up to five stories tall and has an extensive roof garden and pathways. The super efficient walls are made of a porous fly ash concrete to regulate temperatures. Four cottages are built from straw bales and natural and reclaimed materials are detailed throughout the project adding an eclectic and organic feel that speaks to the ecological underpinnings.
The building’s east-west orientation helps maintain a passively cooled and heated interior and energy consumption is complimented by solar hot water batch heaters and solar electric arrays throughout. Natural ventilation is enhanced by the vegetation draping the sunny North side. Roof top gardens and a lower vegetable garden are feed by collected rainwater which also supplies the toilets. The efficiency and renewables help the residences keep their energy consumption near half of average city dwellers.
+ Urban Ecology Australia
+ Ecopolis Architects
Via Sustainable Cities
photos © Aussie Kanck and Jane Manifold