SANCTUARY42hoUSe pRofileiNNeR URbAN AdelAideSANCTUARY43hoUSe pRofileiNNeR URbAN AdelAide
having lived in their old house for 14 years, adelaide
couple Margaret Tonkin and Chen Au Peh and their son were well awareof its shortcomings. “While we liked the location, the old villa was very badly designed,” Margaret says.“The orientation was poor – the northern elevation was closeto the boundary so it didn’t get much natural light – and most of therooms were dark inside because the windows were small and poorly located. Combined with the thick stone walls, the small windows meantthe house stayed cold in winter and, once it warmed up after a run of hot days in summer, it was hard to cool down without the help of airconditioning,” she continues. “Even worse, it was subsiding on one side:it had major issues! We’d spent a lot of money over the years trying toaddress these, with little impact, so we felt like we were throwing money away.”Having weighed up their options – whether to sell and move on,undertake a major renovation or rebuild – the couple decided to knockdown the house and start again. Researching sustainable designersin Adelaide, “Energy Architecture was a name that kept coming up,”Margaret says. “They’d done big and small projects, and were obviously very committed to sustainability.”The family provided a fairly straightforward brief – keep the frontfacade, create more space inside and incorporate energy and waterefficient technologies to increase comfort – so they were initially taken aback by Energy Architecture’s radical suggestion of keepingthe perimeter bluestone wall, taking the roof off and making a gardencourtyard inside the old house.“It was a bit of a shock, actually,” Margaret says. “We thought we would do the standard thing: keep the front rooms and create arenovation behind, so we were surprised when they said we shouldhollow out the existing house for a courtyard and build an entirely new house behind.”“Because the local council is keen to maintain heritage values, and because there is a lot of embodied energy in those old brick and stone walls and they provide great thermal mass, we thought it would be goodto keep them,” says Mark Thomas, the project architect. “But the designprocess aimed to make the new house face the right direction, so wepushed it towards the southern boundary to open up to the north, whichresulted in the new front courtyard to capture winter sun.” The new house’s three bedrooms, two living spaces, study, loft and kitchen were built over the driveway and into the large backyard, to the south and westof the new courtyard. An interesting feature of the home is its Trombe wall on the north-facing stone wall of the new living room. A steel frame sits slightly off the rendered and painted stonework and is clad with Danpalonpolycarbonate panels to create a warm cavity, which transmits heatthrough vents in the wall in winter. In summer, any unwanted heat in theTrombe wall is vented to outside and a large retractable shade – takingthe place of fixed eaves – protects the courtyard and the Trombe wall
Vents t the top nd bottomof the living re’s north wllllow ir wrmed b therombe wll to be dmittedor exluded.