Resident architecture expert, David Hallett from Ask An Architect, gives us his opinion on the Forest Lodge Eco House from Episode 6, Season 4 of Grand Designs Australia.
Chris and Belinda’s Forest Lodge ‘eco-house’ is a building of clever contrasts.
Externally, a 19th century terrace house form has been respectfully recreated using 21st century technology. The stonework and timber of the surrounding cottages contrasts starkly with the concrete, glass and aluminium of their new home, but each palette accentuates the other. The ‘garden wall’ echoes the pocket-handkerchief gardens of the neighbouring homes, but in a break with tradition it’s vertical!
Their block has been vacant since subdivision but it’s as though a prodigal child has returned to the street. Time has wrought change but the family resemblance is still evident.
Internally, the familiar rhythm of a traditional terrace floor plan has been subjugated in favour of a more contemporary approach. The contrast is clear – gone is the predictability of walls, doorways and enclosed spaces…this plan is all about openness, flexibility and light. Clean lines and a minimalist expression are also preferred ahead of yesteryear’s decorative detailing.
How great is the reflective ceiling?!
Finally, Chris’s active approach to sustainability stands in direct contrast to the generally passive approach to sustainable design found in most new homes. Not content with conventional products and techniques, his deliberate use of second-hand materials; his aversion to wastage; his elaborate roof-top garden and his solar-powered slab heating system all reflect a desire to go beyond current thinking to achieve a super-sustainable outcome.
At the end of the day though, it’s not just about what they’ve built but why they’ve built it.
This house reflects a journey of learning, living and loving that hasn’t been without some unexpected setbacks.
It’s much more than a shelter – it’s a modest monument to passion.