A house inspired by the elements which could also be a model for sustainable desert living is the creation of Australian architect James Stockwell.
Before designing The Crofthouse along the south coast of the state of Victoria, close to the town of Inverloch, he asked himself the question: “If the elements of wind rain and sun could
generate an architecture what would it look like ?”
With a half-moon shape the building vaguely resembles a grounded spacecraft – but it also blends into
its natural environment and allows for spectacular coastal views.
Its design allows privacy to the outer rooms and maximum views of the landscape outside the large windows. Inside the space is open with views along the structure’s length and breadth past a series of angled buttresses.
The interior also features polished concrete floors, soft wood paneled walls and ceilings, double glazed floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a large central fireplace.
The house was recently awarded the Alan and Beth Coldicutt Award for Sustainable Architecture as part
of the 2013 Victorian Architecture Awards.
“Crofthouse may be the introduction to a new architectural paradigm where man-made buildings do actually work in such a way with nature that they actually work as one,” stated the judges who praised it
as the stand-out candidate in the category which saw more than 200 nominations.
The home was also labeled one of the “Coolest Houses of Summer 2013” in an on-line poll which took in
buildings across the world.
Running costs are minimized by solar power and double glazing while the exterior landscape shelters the building from the wind – and even provides firewood for winter.
Victorian ash timber and bluestone were used in the construction: “ low food miles” said Stockwell who feels his design could be the future for eco—friendly homes in harsh environments, such as the deserts of the Middle East.
Stockwell said: “Ground hugging buildings and earth integrated buildings blend with the landscape and
reduce ‘wind chill’ factor.”
“The owners request was for a ‘full outlook to and shelter from the coastal vistas in all directions and to be part of the landscape’.
“More broadly its ambitions are to illustrate the suitability of low embodied energy, (the use of) local materials and the idea that architecture be able to tell a story of place and of local craftsmanship and materials.”