A rural block with no services, a client not flush with money and an architect with no experience - what could possibly go wrong?
It's more a case of highlighting all the things that are right with this two storey rammed earth home in Rutherglen, North East Victoria.
A first for architect Steffen Welsch, the brief was to build a rammed earth home for a family with three children.
Having purchased the block with no town services, the family tasked Steffen with designing a low impact home with the earth found onsite.
"It was our first significant sustainable project applying environmentally sustainable design principles throughout," said Steffen. "The response to the harsh climatic conditions was a simple and compact building that uses innovative materials with good thermal properties, has effective solar control and has water collection and water treatment on site."
Building elements were standardised to meet the tight budget and time constraints, as well as to reduce wastage during construction.
The house has a single heater and does not have to rely on air conditioning for thermal comfort. It uses rainwater exclusively, so 110,000 litre tanks form an integral part of the design.
"I was very keen to design and build a house with these conditions," said Steffen. "I knew that a simple layout based on passive solar design principles would work: orientation, zoning, sun control, airflow, thermal mass and insulation.
"Detailing had to be simple and not overworked, to make the house cost-efficient to build. This is all self-evident in the home as it presents itself now. It works, it fits onto the site and it ages nicely like an old friend."