Grand Designs Australia

Episode Three : Embracing the Environment

Discover some of the standout design elements from The Foxground Pavilion featured in episode 4 of Grand Designs Australia Series 5.

Grand Designs Inspirations takes you on a journey, exploring some of the unique, hidden and emerging design elements that appear in some of the buildings featured on the show. In the series you will discover how these concepts have influenced architectural design in the Australian building landscape.
Landscape Sculpture
Using local stone and passive design principles, the Warburton Arch House could be seen as a piece of landscape sculpture. The house was originally built around the former reservoir that supplied water to the township.
Harmonising with the landscape
The Warburton House is sensitive to its environment and is an eco-friendly building. It’s a passive solar construction with a curved “living” roof planted with native grasses and rendered form craft walls that give it a 7.5 star energy rating and solid bushfire resistance. It has a ground linked heat pump and hydropower generator that gives this simple and compact home exceptional thermal comfort.
Designing to blend with the landscape 
Located in a rainforest overlooking Seven Mile Beach near Kiama, the Foxground Pavilion House sits lightly on the landscape and relies on a passive solar design. The only temperature control comes from the solar heating hydronic pipes in the concrete floors and the high louvered windows for flow through ventilation. 

Utilising the right surrounding materials
Rammed earth was the key material used on the Foxground House. It is known for its thermal qualities and its ability to stay heated in winter and cool in summer. The rammed earth has been built by testing different sandstones to achieve the right colour, and acts as both exterior and interior walls in this pavilion style home. The parapet that connects the roof to the walls continues around the entire house. It is finished in aged wood and Axotyl, a spray on metal with a rusty iron finish. This house has literally been built from the sand around it.

Influenced by the landscape 
The Blairgowrie house took its lead from its surrounds. Its supporting pre-fabricated skeletal frame appears to be influenced by the prevailing wind forces that shape the surrounding Moonah trees. The monolithic plinth is purposefully part sunken into the land and hollowed out to emphasise a feeling of refuge and physical engagement with the site.

By using local materials, passive energy technologies, and working in harmony with the topography, these designs not only embrace the environment - they are embraced by it.

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