"Redcone" project

Location:	Bower  S.A.
Completed:	roof up February 1994
	occupied during construction
Architect:	E. Prelgauskas
Builder:	owner built
owner:		Andrea Down
Size:		140 sq. metres
Climate:	Dry, warm, arid


To construct a self sufficient building for retirement seclusion.
To use self sufficient technologies within a low energy demand building approach incorporating in particular greenhouse for comfort control and food production.
The building to have minimum impact on the site during construction and occupation.


35ha land area situated in original mallee land region, generally flat land with minor undulations, covered with bands of mallee tree vegetation interspersed with small salt bush clearings. The locality is characterised by its low rainfall, the sandy friable soiIs overlying limestone strata with low nutrient levels, with the bio-mass predominantly held in the vegetation. The building site chosen was on the northem fringe of a mallee stand with a mild northem slope leading onto a saltbush clearing offering good solar access.


A prefabricated steel portal system formed into three interlinked pavillions, delivered to and erected on site with minimum disturbance to the land. The building was capabie of erection within its own footprint.

The building contains the following features.
A clerestorey opens to the greenhouse, bathroom and kitchen. The bathroom has direct access to both the house and the greenhouse. Greenhouse operation is controlled by venting north and south under the pitched roof; food production is established at a number of split soil levels within the greenhouse.
A cool space is built-in on the southern side of the building with a veranda complete with an underlying safari roof to the indoor area which is sunken a number of steps into the ground and has stone perimeter walls and concrete floor to maximise thermal mass.
All other walls are insulated framed and steel clad. Extensive recycling includes the use of aluminium windows and doors from demolished commercial premises built into the works.
The steep pitched greenhouse and ablutioons roof suits solar hot water and photovoltaic installation.


A historic single cylinder generator has been salvaged, refurbished and is situated in the nearby garage and power reticulated to the house.
Rain water is collected in tanks under the house veranda roof and reticulated.
Bio-let compost toilet is installed and grey water waste sent to external underground disposal or greenhouse re-use.


Comfort is achieved with winter solar access to the northern portion of the living space, summer comfort in the southern and sunken portions of the living space.
The greenhouse was put into operation early in the building construction with humid tropic conditions maximising plant growth achieved.
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