The Local Project – Crafted by John Wardle Architects, this sustainable off-grid house is best explored by means of a house tour. Combining seamless interior design and architecture with a minimal environmental impact, Limestone House forms a cohesive celebration of functionality.
Video timeline: 00:00 – Introduction to the Sustainable Off-Grid House 00:41 – The Location and The Vacant Lot 01:22 – Architects Declare 01:39 – The Living Building Challenge 02:06 – Passive House Standards 02:40 – The Shading Systems 03:04 – What’s Behind the Walls 03:19 – The Energy Supply 03:35 – Requirements of the Living Building Challenge 03:50 – The Two Main Materials Used 04:12 – An Interesting History Behind the Timber 04:42 – The Handmade Aspects 05:01 – Floating on a Sea of Native Grasses
Located in the Melbourne suburb of Toorak, Limestone House rests on the Wurundjeri Land of the Kulin Nation. Initially vacant, the project site excited the clients with the possibility of building a sustainable off-grid house. Paying homage to the environmental agenda, the landscape design of Limestone House sees the building float above a sea of native grass. Guiding the design of Limestone House is the Living Building Challenge and Passivehaus, two rigorous standards of sustainability.
In order to satisfy the standards, John Wardle Architects ensures that the home operates as a sustainable off-grid house, harvesting its own water and disposing of all of its waste water. Externally, a set of edible plantings on the terrace meets the requirement for food production on site. The Passivehaus standard sees a tightly-sealed, sustainable off-grid house emerge. While a passive ventilation system consistently delivers fresh air into the home at a slow speed, an airtight barrier seals heat into the dwelling, maximising energy efficiency.
Similarly, high-performance insulation is applied to the walls, roof and floor and the home features triple-glazed windows. Shading systems take the form of motorised venetian blinds to the northeast and west, as well as operable timber louvres at roof level over the courtyard. Internally, the material palette of Limestone House consists primarily of stone and timber. Concrete benchtops and Queensland siltstone complement the calming tonal character of the scheme alongside hydrowood oak. Many of the trees used for the oak come from a valley that was flooded during a 1940s hydroproject – now the timber comprises a bespoke dining room table.
A sustainable off-grid house, Limestone House produces its own energy and a surplus of five per cent that is exported to the grid. While meeting the design brief, John Wardle Architects ensures that the residence forms a unique embracement of natural serenity, in distinction from other sustainable dwellings of the past.