This bungalow-style home combines a thermal chimney system with solar power to improve energy efficiency. The young family who bought the original home wanted to present the rest of their community with a welcomed sense of connection through indoor-outdoor living, multiple entryways and a large-scale colorful mural on the side of the house. The two-level project in Melbourne, Australia was led by Gardiner Architects and completed in 2018.

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two-story home with gabled roofs

The thermal chimney effect is achieved by having the two stories spaced around the home’s stairwell, so that cool air is drawn from below and exhausted at the top. Sheet metal and shiplap cover the exterior. There are also solar panels fitted to the roof and a skylight to bring natural light inside. The brick wall, which runs down the middle of the building, works thermally as a heat sink and cool sink, while the concrete floor and efficient insulation provides additional assistance in thermal regulation. Despite only having ceiling fans and no air conditioning, the temperature inside remains comfortable throughout the year, even during the summer months.

Related: Solar-powered home embraces tree canopy views in all directions

living space with wood bench, wood shelves and lots of plants
kitchen with large window over the sink opening up to the backyard

The home incorporates three different zones: the children’s bedroom upstairs, the adult bedroom downstairs and the living spaces toward the back. A main, informal living space and sporadic communal spaces provide plenty of opportunities for activities, and an additional ground-level common area has the flexibility to be used as a study, homework room or space for long-term projects, such as artwork or puzzles. This concept adds to the sustainability elements of the home, as the designers are able to provide more amenities in a smaller footprint.

kitchen with blue wall, wood cabinets and white counters
living room with navy walls, built-in bookshelves, small white fireplace and wood furniture

As with most homes with young children, the clients wanted a house that would help center the family around the kitchen. Because the family enjoys gardening with herbs and vegetables, making kombucha, bee keeping and preserving fruit, they wanted a large, open kitchen that connected to the dining and living spaces and also the backyard. A sizable kitchen window opens to a butler’s pantry, and large glass doors open to the deck.

large wooden balcony
aerial view of rows of solar panels on gabled roofs

Windows in the living room are designed to fold back, allowing inside activities to merge with outdoor ones with ease and creating the ability to connect larger gatherings of neighbors or family. A green roof was incorporated as an extension of garden space and a spot for the family to keep their bees.

+ Gardiner Architects

Via Houzz

Photography by Rory Gardiner via Gardiner Architects