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58


INTERIOR


geometry and volume, and by choosing materials with good thermal characteristics. Interior surfaces have been chosen on the basis of their ability to contribute to good indoor climate and air quality, as well as aesthetic qualities. The challenges to creating this home were numerous.


“The sheer number of qualitative parameters, targets at the start, may have seemed overwhelming, but were ultimately liberating – freeing us from constraints by forcing us out of any comfort zone.” The result was a stunningly singular home that speaks


its own language. “We didn’t adhere to stylistic or aesthetic principles. The house is simply a design response to a number of expansive criteria and the environment. Whilst the design criteria are of course transferable, the responses would be very site-specific, as mentioned. Area developments could likely allow for a replicable unit; however, the environmental variance would mean an area-specific design,” says Edwards. As a site-specific design, the surrounding environment


was key. The garden has a swimming pool and shower that both utilise solar-generated thermal heat surplus, a sauna heated with firewood, and storage rooms. And a breakfast spot on the eastern side with a view to adjacent farmland is paved with recycled timber blocks. Less quantifiable attributes played just as equal a part in the design as energy demands did. The grounds employ a


variety of spaces that can be enjoyed year-round, with the inclusion of fruit trees and vegetable gardens to accommodate small-scale food production. “The connection to the landscape is always of


the utmost importance; in that way the house is extremely site-specific. For example: we considered window placement and dimension from views, but simultaneously from orientation, whilst calculating solar gain, heat loss and daylighting parameters. Windows with visual connections add fluidity to the experience of the house, as integrated with the landscape.” Edwards offers astute advice to those looking to


build a home with a similar eco-conscious DNA. “Strip the design approach back to a fundamental level and expose all criteria from day one. A strong bearing concept gives a solid platform for decision making,” he suggests. “There will invariably be compromises, but a sound


ecological approach must go hand in hand with living quality and comfort criteria otherwise we fail. Light, sound, warmth, a shadow cast on the wall or floor at a certain time of year; these are all qualities that we can command through passive means. Site-specific interaction with the environment gives us these resources for free.” With results like the ZEB House, we can’t think of a better path.


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