Adelaide Urban Housing

Adelaide Affordable Urban Housing Competition, 2004. With Federica De Vito and Giamila Quatrone. Environmental consultant Ché Wall.

  1. Townhouses – a development of 30 innovative ‘Dutch’ style narrow frontage loft houses each with various configuration options – a new urban residential typology for Australia
  2. Community – every house has an entrance at ‘ground’ level with direct access from the communal landscaped courtyard that will give residents a sense of “belonging”
  3. Public open space – the design maximises the relationship to Whitmore Square with two walk-through passages to the “defensible space” in the on-site landscaped courtyard with vegetation, seating and communal areas to foster social contact
  4. Vertical landscaping – the east face of the west block of townhouses is a landscaped wall of vertical vegetation that is complemented by private roof terraces
  5. Biodiversity – retention of trees in the public domain and introduction of on-site natural vegetation fosters urban flora and fauna, improves air quality, helps to negate heat island effect and provides shade and natural cooling
  6. Private open space – each dwelling has access to a private bbq terrace or roof terrace to promote outdoor living
  7. Parking – 30 car parking spaces located in a naturally ventilated semi-basement car park with through access entry from SE right of way and exit onto Sturt Street (avoiding existing mature tree)
  8. Passive solar – the innovative housing design is ‘bioclimatic’ and responds to climate and place with use of natural systems to achieve user comfort and energy efficiency
  9. Orientation – the limited northern aspect has been recognised and an address to Whitmore Square given priority with appropriate architectural character responsive to small townhouse typology of the precinct
  10. Solar access – all living rooms get solar access, the landscaped courtyard is open to the north and sun studies confirm that living rooms on the first floor of the east block get a minimum 90 minutes sun at 21 June
  11. Sun control – the difficult west access is resolved with operable sun control shutters on all west facing windows and with fixed shading canopies on the north elevations
  12. Privacy – the sun control shutters double as privacy screens on the west façade of the east block and the east facing windows of the west block are glazed with frosted glass
  13. Daylight – natural daylight is available to all rooms and open plan room configurations, roof windows and ‘skytubes’ giving light access to 8 houses located on the east boundary where it has been assumed there can be no windows
  14. Natural ventilation – cross ventilation is generally available to all floors with operable windows and high level south facing roof vents which also cascade natural light into the centre of each dwelling
  15. Stack effect – air movement is driven by natural buoyancy through solar stacks on the roof of each dwelling drawing cool air in from low level, up the stair void and out through high level roof vents
  16. Waste reduction – prefabricated construction will be employed with the party walls of concrete tilt-up panels with integrated plumbing and electrical services and prefabricated ‘casette’ timber floor, wall frame and roof construction to reduce on-site operations
  17. Thermal mass – the concrete in the party walls, as well as offering good sound and fire separation, will deliver excellent thermal mass holding warmth in winter and ‘coolth’ in summer
  18. Insulation – small external wall to floor ratios reduce reliance on insulation in external walls at R1.5 increased to R2.0 on west facing walls and roof insulation is R2.5 and exposed floors R1.5
  19. Thermal performance – the passive design characteristics ensure that the internal comfort levels are maximised with temperature in summer seldom exceeding 25˚C with no mechanical cooling and minimised energy consumption associated with winter heating
  20. On-site energy production – alternative energy options are proposed and the building form is designed to accommodate different systems following detailed evaluation with overall energy performance measured in terms of green house gas emissions
  21. Micro turbine – cogeneration is proposed as the primary using a ‘Capstone C60’ micro-turbine, located in the basement services area, run on natural gas and operated in ‘thermal priority mode’ to supply total site demand for hot water and winter heating with parallel electricity production which may be supplemented by photovoltaic arrays located on the north facing roof elements
  22. Photovoltaic panels – electricity production can be supplemented by photovoltaic panels fitted on the 6sq.m 30˚ pitch north facing roofs of the thermal stacks on each dwelling producing 3.5kwH electricity per day per dwelling
  23. Greenhouse gas emissions – the greenhouse emissions with the micro-turbine option are projected at 2.5 tonnes per dwelling per year and could be further reduced to below 2.0 tonnes per year with installation of photovoltaic arrays on the roofs (compared to Adelaide Baseline of 9 tonnes)
  24. Energy consumption- after hot water and space heating demands are removed from the equation, it is projected that the demand in each dwelling will be in the range of 6 – 10 kwH per day achieved by universal use of compact florescent lighting and energy efficient appliances  
  25. Solar water heating – if a micro-turbine option is not adopted, solar water heaters with gas or electric back-up, can be located of the north facing rooflights to each dwelling
  26. Refrigeration – kitchen refrigerators are in all cases located on external walls allowing energy reduction to supplement use of energy efficient appliances
  27. Water harvesting – it is proposed that all rainwater falling on the site will be collected – off roofs as potable water that can be treated for washing and laundry, and non-potable off landscaped and paved areas that can be treated for irrigation and exterior use – with net annual collection of approximately 0.5 million litres
  28. Grey water recycling – all grey water from showers, wash-basins and laundries will be collected and treated for re-use for toilet flushing
  29. Water demand – using AAA rated fittings and with on-site water collection and grey water recycling it is projected that net ‘new’ water demand per dwelling can be reduced to 150 litres per day giving a gross water import demand of 1.1 million litres per annum (compared to Adelaide Baseline 3.5 million litres per annum) 
  30. Water holding tanks – water holding tanks and treatment plant are located in the services area in the basement – roof water 100,000 litres, surface water off paved areas 30,000 litres and grey water holding tank 15,000 litres
  31. Embodied energy – concrete and plantation grown or recycled timbers are the main relatively low embodied energy materials proposed with use of metal cladding and roofing that is low maintenance and has potential to be recycled at end of first use
  32. Recycling – domestic waste recycling containers are proposed in each kitchen with communal recycling bins located in the base services area
  33. Transport – direct access from ‘ground’ level to all dwellings facilitates secure storage for bicycles, prams and trolleys encouraging non-car urban
  34. Floor areas – the three storey houses have a potential gross area of 77sq.m inclusive of external private terraces and the four storey houses have a potential gross floor area of 90 – 92.5sq.m. Overall average area is 86sq.m including private terraces
  35. Cost – the simplicity of the design proposal, the elimination of lifts, common stairs and access balconies and the use of prefabricated building elements can make the base construction cost economical thus facilitating investment in communal landscaped areas, solar control and passive ventilation features and energy and greenhouse abatement equipment