hen Nash and Meaghan Popp bought aCalifornian Bungalow in the inner Melbournesuburb of Thornbury in 2001, it was a typicalrenovator’s delight. “It was so dark in here, you hadto turn the lights on even in the middle of the day,”Meaghan remembers. “There were holes in theoor and aking plaster and lathe on the walls.” In2004, the Popps wanted to build an environmentallysustainable extension to increase the building’slight and reduce its operational energy use. Theyencountered more difculties than they hadanticipated.“You must remember that four years ago, tobuild sustainably was still a bit freaky,” recallsSteffen Welsch, a local architect who the Poppscontacted after they had seen his advert in the localnewspaper. “There has been a signicant shift inthe past four years, but at the time we faced manyhurdles and expenses due to the lack of experienceand resistance to new ideas among builders,suppliers, installers and so forth.”Steffen’s launching pad for planning theextension was to maximise light by capturing asmuch available sunlight as possible. The challengewas that the backyard faced south (in other words,received little direct sunlight) yet this was where theextension had to go. To overcome this, Steffen builtan external courtyard between the existing houseand the new extension. Thanks to its northernorientation, the courtyard receives sunlight allday, which in turn enters the living area (in theextension) through double-glazed windows. Thekitchen, which links the old house to the extension,has a lower ceiling than the adjoining dining room.
A row of north-facing windows lls the wall spacebetween the two ceilings and these admit light intothe dining room even during the winter monthswhen the sun is lower in the sky.
In addition to a horizontal extension, thePopps built a second storey. This created freshopportunities to reduce the building’s operationalenergy use. Windows were put in at strategic
bed 1bed 2bathroomlaundrypantry
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diningsummer decklivingwinter deckguest / bed 3study / retreat
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The rammed earthwalls not onlyprovide thermalmass in the homebut are a strongaesthetic eature o the house’s interior.