Bethanga House by tUG workshop
Sustainable Architecture: National Award
Australian Institute of Architects
Bethanga House pushes the boundaries of residential sustainable design while at the same time establishing a frank beauty through its rawness and honesty. Sustainable strategies were tested and tailored to address the microclimate of the Lake Hume site, where temperatures have ranged from 3.9°C to 44°C in the last two years. Resources used in construction and operation were minimized; the house operates autonomously while feeding power to the grid. Studwork, plasterboard and almost all paint was eliminated; the surface area of the roof was calculated to harvest enough rainwater to account for dry periods; wastewater is treated and used to irrigate the orchard; a sandwich panel exterior insulates the exposed internal concrete panels; the floor slab is insulated through the earth and insulated perimeter concrete walls extend up to 1200 millimetres below ground level.
It is particularly noteworthy that the project team’s own monitoring tests challenge industry rating tools. They provide “real-world” results. The data collected will make a significant contribution to further developing sustainable benchmarks and educating clients, architects and industry. The architects have displayed exceptional rigour and commitment to improving the ongoing environmental performance and comfort through continually monitoring and fine-tuning. The jury was impressed by the deliberate way in which architectural moves and detail choices have been combined with sophisticated but accessible environmentally sustainable principles.