Australian townhouses minimize water and energy use
Green Sheep Collective Architects from Melbourne, Australia answered the call from a client to create an exceptional set of townhouses. They were to be sustainable, high-quality construction with an eye for modern architectural details. We’d say they succeeded.
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The Alphington Townhouses have unique angles on their facades. In addition to a variety of materials that marry the traditional brick row house style with modern steel and glass.
“The challenge was to provide designs that allowed north light to as many spaces as possible on the four north-south sites, while balancing sustainable design features and material selection with the project budget and intended resale values,” the architects explained.
The final buyers of the townhomes weren’t predetermined. Therefore, the architects designed with materials that were flexible, low maintenance and low environmental impact to create value for potential buyers. The resulting Alphington Townhouses have open living areas and breezy modern staircases. Also, there are uniquely angled windows, modern finishes in the kitchen and bath. It connects to the outdoors via patio or balcony.
Furthermore, a thermally efficient envelope enhanced the use of appropriate materials and systems to minimize energy and water use. Meanwhile, locally-grown and sustainably-sourced ash cladding was used for durability and reduced millage waste. Low-maintenance standing seam cladding and corrugated metal roofing help offset embodied energy in manufacturing.
Inside, Vic Ash flooring reduces timber waste. While raking roof forms with central operable clerestory windows allow the “stack effect,” natural ventilation with north light into southern rooms to reduce overheating during the day.
The townhouse development achieved energy ratings of up to seven stars and on average exceeded steps targets by more than 100%. Also, the architects aimed to make the development aesthetically pleasing. They did so by easing the elevation of the townhomes down the slope of the street and incorporating lightweight “skins” to reduce the perceived bulk of the building. Additionally, existing trees were kept. And angled timber balcony screens were used to soften the private outdoor spaces. The bricks used for the first floor levels were recycled.
As a result, the building looks modern, yet suits the space and looks as if it’s always been there. Internal courtyards have to be the most unique feature of the building beyond materials used, as they provide more natural light and ventilation to all rooms. This helps avoid the common problem of dark interior spaces within townhomes and contributes to the light and airy feeling throughout while connecting inhabitants to the outdoors.