Limestone house / John Wardle Architects

Limestone house / John Wardle Architects

© Dianna Rogue© Dianna Rogue© Dianna Rogue© Dianna Rogue+ 16

© Dianna Rogue
© Dianna Rogue

Text description provided by the architects. A house that can generate, capture and supply everything it needs on the spot. A house that minimizes its environmental impact beyond the site. This was our client’s ambition, while creating a generous and pleasant living environment. An outer shell of limestone from Mount Gambier is carved to create several carefully orchestrated window openings. Those on the street are lined up to get light but control privacy and solar penetration into the rooms. Larger openings on the north elevation allow entry of the sun and sky views. The largest opening is a shaded central courtyard which draws natural light, ventilation, and winter sun into the heart of the home. The setting includes a planted pond in which there is a desk lined with wood. Everything is organized around this calm and contemplative center, but with views and links to a lush surrounding garden.

© Dianna Rogue
© Dianna Rogue

From the street, a wide sweeping staircase leads to a steel gate that identifies the entrance. Inside, the spaces are organized around the courtyard. Natural light fills the house from various sources while remaining well shaded. Living room and dining room, kitchen, bathroom, master bedroom and two dedicated offices occupy the ground floor. The guest bedrooms, bathrooms and a rooftop vegetable garden are located above the first floor. A basement houses most of the technical equipment of the building, a wine cellar, a pantry, a music studio and cars. The garden has been carefully landscaped with a strong emphasis on native planting.

© Dianna Rogue
© Dianna Rogue
Map - Location
Map – Location
© Dianna Rogue
© Dianna Rogue

Limestone is a natural material, of local origin, and is very simply extracted from the quarry. Its production requires minimal energy expenditure. The maker’s hand is highlighted when the stone is cut, sliced, laid and detailed, often to achieve inventive results – a rounded plane, a cantilevered end, or an oblique opening. The recycled wood cladding of the dining room and office pavilion will eventually turn silver gray. The appearance of the house will change, as wood and stone will acquire a patina over time. The interior of the house has a reducing and silent palette of materials with an emphasis on details that welcome the hand and the eye. Queensland silt floor tiles complement the limestone walls. Recycled New South Wales blackbutt is used for wood siding and window frames. Reclaimed Tasmanian Oak is used in flooring, interior cladding and carpentry.

North elevation
North elevation
© Dianna Rogue
© Dianna Rogue

Two complementary and voluntary standards were implemented to achieve the project’s sustainability ambitions. Adopting the Passivhaus principles has resulted in a comfortable living environment using minimal energy creating an incredibly efficient and uninterrupted building envelope. Prefabrication of the thermal shell in a controlled factory environment resulted in quality control. Superior indoor air quality is achieved through a 100% fresh air mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery. Additionally, the Living Building Challenge guided the selection of healthy local materials and an off-grid approach to energy and water management. As much a research project as a design effort, to achieve such ambitious sustainability goals, it took a highly collaborative effort of all involved.

© Dianna Rogue
© Dianna Rogue



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