Green Sheep Collective aimed to create an affordable and highly energy efficient residence with the design of the Smart Home, a renovation and extension in Melbourne, Australia. Built for approximately $200 per square foot, the home is by no means a low-cost home but the price is impressive given the inclusion of high-level environmentally sustainable principles and components. In contrast to Melbourne’s many McMansions, the site-specific, compact Smart Home boasts low to zero emissions, recycled materials, and a strong connection to the outdoors.
Smart Home is an expansion and renovation of a two-bedroom single-fronted Victorian cottage in inner Melbourne. Passive solar design principles guided the design and the home’s openings and room layout are optimized for natural light and ventilation. Recycled materials were used wherever possible as was ethically sourced materials like the radially sawn timbers and Flexo recycled rubber flooring. Water saving impacts were addressed with EcoVerta water saving units. Careful design and clever storage solutions with built-in furniture created 20% more usable indoor space within the 140-square-foot addition.
“This project faced a number of critical challenges that had to be overcome in order to meet these sustainability and design targets,” wrote the architects. “The constraints included overshadowing, poor orientation, and a small 7.5 metre wide east-west block built close to the boundary. The existing home was dark and leaky with a lean-to at the rear.” The architects demolished the lean-to and added a mezzanine. “Our response creates interesting volumes for architectural beauty, and minimises idle space by ensuring the floor plan is utilised to its full capacity through clever storage solutions and split level living. The single storey addition includes open plan living, dining and kitchen opening via large openable glazed doors to an outdoor deck.”
Images by Shae Parker McCashen