"Strathearn" project

Location: - Wistow S.A.
Date Completed: - Febr. '95
Architect: - E . Prelgauskas
Builder: - owner built
Owner: - Sandra Kelly
Size: - 120 sq. metre
Climate: - Dry, warm temperate


To develop a self sufficient low energy demand residence complete with greenhouse. The house to suit retirement living and to make on-site revegetation activities practical. Development to suit minimum disturbance of the land during construction.


30 ha. of cleared grazing land with steep slopes and exposed rock formations and abutting a seasonal creek.
The land is being revegetated.
The building site selected is on the northern end of the land and has a north-east slope. A long access road, and staging tanks for water pumping from the creek, were all necessary to make the site practicable.


The house design formed a Y shape to seat on a triangular bench on the north-east slope. This arrangement minimised the cut needed into the land and ensured that portions of the house (living room and solar systems) have good north solar orientation.
The design embodies a greenhouse at its eastern end, and a shadecloth enclosure at the north-west end.
Internal spaces have raked ceilings.

The building is of prefabricated steel section portal structure, with mixed steel cladding and stone recycled from on site; internal mixed stone and timber framed walls.
Framed walls and roof are R2 insulated.
The central combined ablutions and laundry wet area has clerestorey south windows and solar system pitched roof above. The building has Beige steel surfaces and natural stone blending with the landform colours.


Water is held in storage tanks at the crest of the land and gravity/pump reticulated to the residence.
Supply is both roof collected rain water to a sump and pumped to the tanks, and creek water pumped via the staging tanks to storage.
Solar hot water with wood stove wet back boost is built-in up in the bathroom cupboard, with panels on the steep roof. Solar photovoltaics on the steep roof section generate electricity stored in batteries in the hallway cupboard, the kitchen mounted 1.5kW inverter produces 240V AC.
Lighting is 24V DC. Circuits are zoned, with indicator lights on all switches.
A mobile generator services high demand site power systems. Waste is to split tank Rowley system, septic to underground disposal, grey water to site watering.


Comfort is maintained by manipulation of openings and systems.
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