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CplusC Architects + Builders - Welcome to the Jungle House

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Winner of the 2019 National Sustainability Awards for both New House & Intelligent Building, Highly Commended at the 2019 World Architecture Festival Awards held in Amsterdam in December and Winner of the 2019 Master Builders Association Design & Construct Excellence in Housing Awards. Designed to celebrate the Sydney climate while pushing all limits of Sustainability in every aspect of the project. This home is a direct response to the ‘Climate Emergency’ facing our country and our planet.

Consumption: the act of consuming, as by use, decay, or destruction.

Architecture is a form of consumption and the nature in which architecture is consumed has changed dramatically over the past century. Can architecture reduce the exponentially increasing consumption that threatens humanity itself?

Climate change must be reversed, and human beings must become sustainable in every aspect of their lives. Conserving our resources and becoming more sustainable as a species is now critical to our very survival. Almost 100 years ago Le Corbusier famously said that ‘A house is a machine for living in’. If we are to survive the next 100 years a house must be ‘a machine for sustaining life’ and it must promote those values in its architectural expression to the public who largely consume architecture through the media where image is everything. If we are to promote these values, they must be an intrinsic part of the conceptual fabric of a project.

Architecture that is not only beautiful: an architecture which generates and stores power; an architecture which harvests and recycles water; an architecture which produces fruit, vegetables, fish and eggs; an architecture which recycles and reuses the waste it produces. Architecture that nourishes the mind, body and soul. Architecture where landscape, food, nature, garden, environment, energy, waste, water and beauty exist symbiotically.

Built within a rejuvenated heritage façade of rendered masonry, steel, timber and greenery, the Welcome to the Jungle House is situated in an inner-city heritage conservation area typified by late Victorian row terrace housing and post-industrial warehouse conversions. A two-storey shop top house in disrepair and close to collapse originally occupied the 90sqm triangular site. The original spackled rendered masonry façade had cultural and streetscape significance to the local heritage conservation area and its necessary reconstruction was managed under strict heritage controls. Original window openings have been framed in pre-rusted steel and juxtaposed with new openings framed in gloss white powder coat steel. A black photovoltaic panel array signals the new addition to the original northern façade, harnessing sunlight throughout the day, acting as a billboard for the sustainability attributes of the architecture and starkly contrasting the original rendered heritage facade.

The fully operable glass inner skin of the home is inset from the outer punctuated masonry façade, providing an abundance of light and outlook whilst maintaining privacy from the public realm. This interstitial zone provides passive thermal regulation across the upper floors with planter beds ‘floating’ in between the glass and masonry skins to provide outlook to greenery and cooling to internal spaces via transpiration. The floating planter beds are also an integrated structurally engineered solution to the lateral bracing needs of the masonry wall.

The rooftop is constructed of steel planter beds which provide deep soil for native plants and fruit and vegetables. The garden beds are irrigated with from the fishpond providing nutrient rich water created by the edible silver perch (fish).

Photographed by Michael Lassman, Ryan Ng & Murray Fredericks