The Cheese House

The Cheese House combines an innovative 7.9 star passive solar design, water collection & efficient re-use, conventional & phase change thermal mass, low embodied energy construction materials, extensive environmental specification, a deep retrofit of the existing structure, a new connection with the rear yard and a healthy interior in which the family can love and grow.   

This project has taken out multiple awards in 2017 including BDAV Environmentally Sustainable Residential Design award and winner in the Alternation and Addition category ($200-500k), HIA Greensmart Home of the Year, 2017 Sustainabilty award for Single Dwelling - Addition and Alteration. 

In its former life," The Cheese was a single fronted weatherboard house on a narrow North-South block that had had multiple lean-tos added over the years, and a layout that, among other issues, cut off the living from the backyard. The home was leaky and creaky, dark and rabbit-warren-like with only 7.3 m width on the north.  Critically, the block has three smaller neighbouring units with private open spaces to its west, and any extension would not be able to add further shadowing to their neighbour's open space.  "The Cheese", named after the concept plan which incorporated a curved roof that looks like a generous wedge cut out of a wheel, was born from this challenge.  The "cut" of the upper roof was designed to maximaise solar access to the neighbouring yards. The curve on the eastern side, provides ample head height, creating a rainbow like ceiling line the length of the addition, ending in recycled brick thermal wall.

Sustainablity was core to the brief right from the beginning.  The clients saw wisdom of putting part of their limited budget towards a deep insulation retrofit of the existing house, not just the new addition.  They have chosen to go gas-free, and invested in the most efficient heat pump technologies for hot water and hydronic heating, and induction cooking, combined with a photo voltaic system to sustain them. 

It is a cost effective example of using a renovaiton to sustainably modernise existing house stock.

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