embodies climate responsive design, solar hws, photovoltaics, rain water,
greywater re-use, vergola, clerestory, stair thermal flue
The Teringie house has become quite well known as a piece of
It is referred to at conferences and in literature because a review
of the experience of the planning for the Teringie house gives
useful insights into the different emphases between
And it gives useful insights about how the process of
development control can kill off innovation and improved
Because of this the Teringie house from this practice will continue
to be referenced as above for many years to come.
Adelaide, South Australia's state capital, was originally sited and
laid out by the first European settlers on a coastal plain between
the ocean in Gulf St. Vincent to the west, and the Mount Lofty
Ranges to the east. The hills are anecdotally called the Adelaide
Hills where they abut the city which has grown to cover the whole
coastal plain, and leapfrog across the hills eastward as well.
The project's site is a parcel of land within the Teringie subdivision.
The subdivision covers the sloping hill front facing metropolitan
Adelaide above the major eastern feeder road - Magill Road.
It is very prominent in scenic views from the city eastward.
The site is steep, at least a 25 degree slope, being Lot 18
situated between Old Coach House Road at the top, and a
cul-de-sac at the bottom.
Below alongside is a conventional house development
which includes large excavation with earth embankments
to form the flat area needed to place a house.
This creates fracturing of the land surface above as slippages
occur on the embankments, and sub-surface waterflows are
opened up, needing to be diverted in stormwater systems.
One of the parameters for the Teringie house by this practice
was to avoid such impacts.
Much better to build by avoiding these impacts and let existing
natural systems continue to operate.
The general 'ecologically sustainable development' approach
- ensuring the 'buildability' on the land by having a multiple
split level layout for the house in being a number of suspended
concrete floor levels on a steel flooring system, with Hebel walls
built up from the decks and insulated steel roofs.
In this way no external scaffolding would
be needed, and a minimum of machinery needed to move on
the sloping site.
- this construction also achieves a good passive insulated
building form similar to the Davelea and Mundulla houses
described on this web site.
- the Teringie proposal was for good services performance
including roof water capture to tanks under
the living room suspended floor, a photovoltaic grid connected
system for electricity, and greywater re-use on the land.
- with access to the site available from the roadway above
the slope, the logical response according to this practice for
this site was to position garaging in the house's
living room roof. This avoided the intrusive switchback roadway
down the slope needed for normal solutions like garaging
alongside or undercroft to the house.
The scheme achieves high performance standards for
development, including the owners', the architect's and
received a substantial body of support by residents in the subdivision.
The project hasn't been built.
The owners were ultimately worn down and sold the land after almost
2 and a half years that were needed to proceed past the
opponents in the approval processes for development consent,
building rules consent and waste approvals. This is described in
example 4 in the 'experience with regulators' file on this web site.
Development controllers were amazed at the unfamiliar high
standards set by the ESD approach, the roof garaging, the
insistence on keeping the building clear of the ground and the
solar access wall sides open.
Development controls instead demanded that the house be submerged
to make it unobtrusive on the visible slope. The controls prescribed
the way this was to be done; and thereby ignored other and
better ways this house proposal actually achieved those outcomes.
The project did secure its needed approvals.
The time and cost expended by the proponents was needed to bring
the development controllers' knowledge upward to the point where they
became capable of discerning the higher performance the house
would achieve compared with the mediocre standards prescribed by
- those who want to achieve good development outcomes
- as opposed to those who want to do nothing more than control development.