Farm in Barwon Downs
The new owners of the 40-hectare farm in rural Victoria not only plan to spend their retirement at the property but wish to continue running it as a hobby farm. They would like to accommodate their five kids when they visit and also offer holiday units as extra income. The existing dwelling, workshops, sheds and barns are to be replaced gradually, allowing for the new structures to be slowly integrated. Inspired by the classic barn, a simple wood frame construction forms the home's basic framework. Little ‘houses’ of solid construction are inserted into this 3D grid and make up the sleeping, guest and living spaces. The climatic advantages of these highly insulated solid modules are complemented by those of the greenhouses in between them.
While the solid modules provide thermal mass all year round, the greenhouses provide solar heating in winter and natural ventilation in summer. The house therefore functions as an active and natural system able to respond to extreme temperatures ranging from below 0° in winter to over 40° in summer. The sequence of transparent greenhouses and semi-open solid ‘houses’ blurs the boundaries between inside and outside, creating an open, floating space. Free-standing prefabricated interior modules further define the space and contain all essential wiring, plumbing, wardrobes, cabinets, shelving, bathroom and kitchen facilities and more, minimising building costs and time. The interior spaces extend almost seamlessly to the outside in the form of terraced gardens, some of which are for food production and water recycling. The entire modular system can be later easily extended to include guest houses, workshops, stables or other functions.