Luigi Rosselli Architects designed this modern rammed earth home in Sydney to provide a comfortable interior climate, lots of natural light, and a connection with nature while minimizing energy needs and the home's environmental impact. The Kirribilli House makes use of a large rammed earth wall, which serves as the home's spine and moderates the interior temperature during the day and night. The architects also incorporated skylights, daylighting, shade screens, a green roof, solar power, and rainwater collection to help reduce the single family residence's impact.
The client’s brief to the architect was to make the home comfortable, meaning the interior climate. “It’s not a question of good padding on the lounges but the ability of a building to provide a climatically comfortable environment, a place where you seek refuge from the heat of the day or in the cold nights, without having to barricade yourself behind hermetically shut windows,” says Luigi Rosselli Architects. To achieve climatic comfort, the firm decided to incorporate a rammed earth spine that runs the length of the house linking all the levels. The rammed earth wall is a passive device that soaks up heat during the day and releases it out at night. This way the interior stays cool during the day, but doesn’t freeze at night.
Three courtyards and gardens extend living space outdoors and infuse daylight and ventilation throughout. Skylights and external shutters cooperate to maximize daylight and temper heat gain, while a living roof insulates from above. Over 14,000 liters of rainwater is collected and stored in tanks in the bowels of the house and like a camel, it could survive for some time on minimal water. A photovoltaic and solar hot water system reduce the home’s demand on energy from the grid. The livable waterfront residence won an AIA sustainable design award for 2011. Landscape architecture was provided by Terragram.
Images © Justin Alexander & Terragram