Sustainable design, green building, natural construction these are all terms with which we are becoming more familiar in the residential sector. However, there are relatively few houses that truly measure up to these designations.
Environmentally friendly homes have tended to fall victim to a lack of understanding on the part of the general public, who envision small adobe-style structures with little aesthetic appeal. The reality is entirely different, says architect John Bulcock of Design Unit.
"My first approach is to design a passive house, one that works with the natural contours of the site, combined with architectural features that mitigate solar gain and promote natural ventilation and light."
Because of the remote setting and tropical climate, natural ventilation and sustainability were primary concerns for the owners of this house. At the start of construction there were no water, electricity or sewerage connections. Even now, only electricity is connected.
"We weren't particularly daunted by the prospect of not having any of these services," says owner Gary Dublanko, who, along with partner Dea Zoffman, took on the role of main contractor. "We had already spent 10 years living in the tropics, and had a good understanding of the limitations of conventional housing, in terms of energy usage."