Architecture

1930s Australian home receives stunning energy-efficient renovation

1930s Australian home receives...
Casa 31_4 Room House was designed by Adrian Iredale and Caroline Di Costa (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
Casa 31_4 Room House was designed by Adrian Iredale and Caroline Di Costa (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
View 42 Images
Casa 31_4 Room House was designed by Adrian Iredale and Caroline Di Costa (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
1/42
Casa 31_4 Room House was designed by Adrian Iredale and Caroline Di Costa (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
Building a brand new energy-efficient home is all well and good, but it can sometimes make more sense to renovate an existing property (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
2/42
Building a brand new energy-efficient home is all well and good, but it can sometimes make more sense to renovate an existing property (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
Casa 31_4 Room House looks like every other house in the neighborhood when viewed from the street (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
3/42
Casa 31_4 Room House looks like every other house in the neighborhood when viewed from the street (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
The home is located in Perth, Western Australia (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
4/42
The home is located in Perth, Western Australia (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
The renovation of the house took four years (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
5/42
The renovation of the house took four years (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
When viewed from the rear, a large white semi-translucent extension is visible (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
6/42
When viewed from the rear, a large white semi-translucent extension is visible (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
The extension sits atop the house and offers an additional includes study and living room (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
7/42
The extension sits atop the house and offers an additional includes study and living room (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
Besides its large extension, Casa 31_4 Room House also received significant energy-efficient upgrades (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
8/42
Besides its large extension, Casa 31_4 Room House also received significant energy-efficient upgrades (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
The house contains a passive-cooling system that's inspired by the Coolgardie Safe (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
9/42
The house contains a passive-cooling system that's inspired by the Coolgardie Safe (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
During construction, removal of materials was shunned in favor of re-use where possible, and unwanted timber became furniture, decks, and door frames (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
10/42
During construction, removal of materials was shunned in favor of re-use where possible, and unwanted timber became furniture, decks, and door frames (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
The garden is a large space for the whole family (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
11/42
The garden is a large space for the whole family (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
During construction, the removal of materials was minimized in favor of re-use (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
12/42
During construction, the removal of materials was minimized in favor of re-use (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
Unwanted timber was repurposed as furniture, decks, and door frames (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
13/42
Unwanted timber was repurposed as furniture, decks, and door frames (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
The house features other practical energy-reducing measures, such as low-energy light fittings and a solar hot water system (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
14/42
The house features other practical energy-reducing measures, such as low-energy light fittings and a solar hot water system (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
A solar hot water system and solar panels help to reduce the carbon footprint further (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
15/42
A solar hot water system and solar panels help to reduce the carbon footprint further (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
Windows were placed so as to maximize cross ventilation and winter heat gain (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
16/42
Windows were placed so as to maximize cross ventilation and winter heat gain (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
The extension sports opening screens which afford views of the local area (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
17/42
The extension sports opening screens which afford views of the local area (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
Thanks to its proving the efficacy of renovating older, less-efficient Australian homes into energy-efficient modern dwellings, Casa 31_4 Rooms House will be briefly opened as a show house this May (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
18/42
Thanks to its proving the efficacy of renovating older, less-efficient Australian homes into energy-efficient modern dwellings, Casa 31_4 Rooms House will be briefly opened as a show house this May (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
Casa 31_4 Room House was designed by Adrian Iredale and Caroline Di Costa (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
19/42
Casa 31_4 Room House was designed by Adrian Iredale and Caroline Di Costa (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
Building a brand new energy-efficient home is all well and good, but it can sometimes make more sense to renovate an existing property (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
20/42
Building a brand new energy-efficient home is all well and good, but it can sometimes make more sense to renovate an existing property (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
The home is located in Perth, Western Australia (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
21/42
The home is located in Perth, Western Australia (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
Casa 31_4 Room House looks like every other house in the neighborhood when viewed from the street (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
22/42
Casa 31_4 Room House looks like every other house in the neighborhood when viewed from the street (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
The renovation of the house took four years (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
23/42
The renovation of the house took four years (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
The extension offers additional space, including a study and living room (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
24/42
The extension offers additional space, including a study and living room (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
Besides its large extension, Casa 31_4 Room House also received significant energy-efficient upgrades (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
25/42
Besides its large extension, Casa 31_4 Room House also received significant energy-efficient upgrades (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
The kitchen opens onto the garden (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
26/42
The kitchen opens onto the garden (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
The renovation of the house took four years (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
27/42
The renovation of the house took four years (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
The house originally dates back to the 1930s (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
28/42
The house originally dates back to the 1930s (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
The extension sits atop the house and offers an additional includes study and living room (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
29/42
The extension sits atop the house and offers an additional includes study and living room (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
The house looks strikingly different when viewed from the rear, compared to the front (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
30/42
The house looks strikingly different when viewed from the rear, compared to the front (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
Unwanted timber was reused as furniture in the renovation (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
31/42
Unwanted timber was reused as furniture in the renovation (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
The extension sports opening screens which afford views of the local area (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
32/42
The extension sports opening screens which afford views of the local area (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
A solar hot water system provides domestic hot water (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
33/42
A solar hot water system provides domestic hot water (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
Architectural drawing (Image: Iredale Pedersen Hook)
34/42
Architectural drawing (Image: Iredale Pedersen Hook)
Architectural drawing (Image: Iredale Pedersen Hook)
35/42
Architectural drawing (Image: Iredale Pedersen Hook)
Architectural drawing (Image: Iredale Pedersen Hook)
36/42
Architectural drawing (Image: Iredale Pedersen Hook)
Architectural drawing (Image: Iredale Pedersen Hook)
37/42
Architectural drawing (Image: Iredale Pedersen Hook)
Architectural drawing (Image: Iredale Pedersen Hook)
38/42
Architectural drawing (Image: Iredale Pedersen Hook)
Architectural drawing (Image: Iredale Pedersen Hook)
39/42
Architectural drawing (Image: Iredale Pedersen Hook)
Architectural drawing (Image: Iredale Pedersen Hook)
40/42
Architectural drawing (Image: Iredale Pedersen Hook)
Architectural drawing (Image: Iredale Pedersen Hook)
41/42
Architectural drawing (Image: Iredale Pedersen Hook)
Architectural drawing (Image: Iredale Pedersen Hook)
42/42
Architectural drawing (Image: Iredale Pedersen Hook)
View gallery - 42 images

Rather than building a brand new home, it can often make more sense to renovate an existing home and bring it in line with modern standards. This proved to be the case with the recently-completed Casa 31_4 Room House, which is based in Perth, Western Australia. The 1930s property was transformed into a passively-cooled home, complete with a modern extension that both adds space and contributes to its considerable charm.

The owners of Casa 31_4 Room House happen to both be experienced architects, and so Adrian Iredale and Caroline Di Costa naturally handled the design of the renovation themselves, in a process that took four years. The home's name derives from it being envisioned as four distinct living spaces.

Viewed from street-side, the two-story (and two-faced) Casa 31_4 Room House appears basically unchanged, in keeping with the local neighborhood. However, from the rear, a white extension looms large. This extension offers additional space, including a study and living room, while opening screens afford excellent views of the local area.

Casa 31_4 Room House looks like every other house in the neighborhood when viewed from the street (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
Casa 31_4 Room House looks like every other house in the neighborhood when viewed from the street (Photo: Peter Bennetts)

Casa 31_4 Room House also received significant energy-efficient upgrades, most notably in the form of a passive cooling system that's inspired by the Coolgardie Safe, a popular low-tech Australian refrigeration device invented to keep a miner's food and drink cool.

The Coolgardie Safe essentially operates in a similar fashion to a swamp cooler. As a water-soaked canvas bag comes into contact with the air, it evaporates the water in the bag, cooling the interior of the safe – and the contents inside – as a result.

In an email to Gizmag, Adrian Iredale explained that the passive cooling system of the Casa 31_4 Room House also operates much like a large evaporative system. Water is drip-fed by a reticulation system from overhead (the water is controlled by timer) onto fabric which doubles up as a privacy screen and sun shield.

The fabric then comes into contact with the prevailing breeze, and duly cools the interior space. The amount of water used is minimized as the fabric is only required to be partially damp.

During construction, the removal of materials was minimized in favor of re-use (Photo: Peter Bennetts)
During construction, the removal of materials was minimized in favor of re-use (Photo: Peter Bennetts)

During construction, removal of materials was shunned in favor of re-use where possible, and unwanted timber became furniture, decks, and door frames. Other practical energy-reducing measures include low-energy light fittings, a solar hot water system, roof-bound solar panels, and windows placed so as to maximize cross ventilation and winter heat gain. The existing chimney was also employed as part of a rainwater collection system.

Though generally tricky to get right, the clash of modern and traditional architectural design works very well indeed in the case of Casa 31_4 Rooms House. Thanks its appealing design, and its use of energy-efficient technology, the home will be briefly opened as a show house during the Australian Institute of Architects' 2014 Perth-based National Architecture Conference this May.

Source: Iredale Pedersen Hook

View gallery - 42 images
1 comment
Gregg Eshelman
There's a word for what they've done to that classic property. Remuddling! Looks like a 1970's Sci-Fi movie set landed on it.