This Guest Suite Built in the Trees Looks Like Something From a Galaxy Far, Far Away
Houses We Love: Every day we feature a remarkable space submitted by our community of architects, designers, builders, and homeowners. Have one to share? Post it here.
Location: Unanderra, New South Wales, Australia
Architect: Alexander Symes Architect / @asa_alexandersymesarchitect
Footprint: 645 square feet
Builder: Souter Built
Photographer: Barton Taylor / @barton_taylor
From the Architect: "Pepper Tree Passive House is a small secondary dwelling to a young family’s home in the Australian Illawarra region, perched on a steep site and elevated into the canopy of the site’s eponymous 60-year-old Pepper Tree. Built to the international Passive House standard, true sustainability is at the core ethos of the project, embodied between the natural material palette, high-performance design, and strong biophilic connection. The two cantilevered wings each host a green roof, filled with native Australian plants that blend the building into the landscape.
"The secondary dwelling provides office space for the clients’ growing company as well as accommodations for guests. The work to the existing home improves the thermal comfort of the space and creates new entertaining spaces throughout. The home is connected to its site with a natural and raw material palette that includes extensive timber, endemic rooftop gardens, and a tree canopy deck.
"Nestled into the tree canopy of the Pepper Tree, the secondary dwelling sits lightly on the steep site and elevates the natural ground via its green roofs, with the recycled shou sugi ban cladding allowing the building to blend into its environment. Previously exposed to the street corner below, the wrap-around deck to the existing home creates spaces for entertaining that provide both a noise and visual buffer to the street, and direct views over the street tree canopies towards Mount Kembla. The project adds much needed usable floor space to the suburban site without overdeveloping or sacrificing biophilic connection.
"By using salvaged and waste materials throughout, costs were significantly reduced without sacrificing material quality. Passive House standard and 12kW photovoltaic panel system means that the project’s overall grid energy consumption is only 14 percent of a home of a similar size (86 percent reduction), significantly reducing the lifetime cost to the clients."
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