Teringie house

Emilis Prelgauskas - design elements 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
unbuilt work.

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 
  • those who want to achieve good development outcomes
  • as opposed to those who want to do nothing more than control development.
And it gives useful insights about how the process of development control can kill off innovation and improved outcomes. 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 also included:- - 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 regulation.

Council's scheme This architect's scheme