Sanctuary 45: A house for $100k

Sanctuary 45 is here, full of designs that play with shape, budget, site and style.

I hope you enjoy this bumper ‘experimental’ design issue, where we not only explore the principles of Passive House and biophilia but visit eight houses that really push the building envelope. At Sanctuary, experimental doesn’t just mean crazy-cool engineering, emerging products and radical materials – although we’ve got those covered. For us, the challenge of knocking existing homes into shape, to buffer residents from a changing climate, is where problem solving shines brightest. And so we visit two retrofits: a Passive House renovation of a heritage building to make it one of the most efficient in the country, and a mountain house that’s been masterfully reconfigured to achieve 7.6 Stars from a freezing 2.9 Stars. Such projects provide a new blueprint for how Australia’s existing nine million residences can be made future-ready.

Perhaps paradoxically, it’s constraints that lead to the most creative design solutions – as demonstrated by the studio we profile that’s perched halfway up a cliff, and a small-footprint home that literally bridges an easement to make use of an unloved bush block. But budget is arguably even more influential than site limitations. The low-cost and very liveable 7.1 Star ‘apple crate shack’ on our cover is the result of an owner-architect’s personal quest to get back to basics and avoid housing debt. While Andrew Kerr originally aimed for a $60k build, the $100k outcome still shows how thinking outside of the norm can help extend the opportunity of home ownership to more people.

As much as we celebrate experiments with a pragmatic bent, we haven’t forgotten the frivolous. Playful architecture is often dismissed as extravagant, but there’s no reason why we can’t inject fun into environmentally sustainable design. We introduce you to the Gold Coast’s coolest grandmother with her pull-down grandchild sleeping pods; a novel and unique way to build accommodation ‘surge capacity’ into an off-grid coastal retreat.

Have a look inside Sanctuary 45

Also in this issue:
Energy efficiency guru Richard Keech explains how to make use of your solar PV for cooling you down on summer days – and nights! Stuart McQuire helps you optimise a new or existing rainwater storage system, and we ask verge landscape specialist Simon Pawley to share garden designs the whole neighbourhood can enjoy.

This is our final issue for the year, and it’s been a big one at Sanctuary HQ. Our publisher is now known simply as Renew, and we’ve put a lot of effort into the new-look website and online resources, which I encourage you to check out and use to get in touch. We remain proudly independent and member-owned, and your shared experience is what keeps our publications so unique.

Sanctuary 45 is now on its way to letterboxes and newsagencies near you, full of advice and inspiration for sustainable living and building.

And as always we feature a wide range of innovative sustainable products and design tips for your home.

We welcome your feedback. Perhaps there’s something else you would you like to see in Sanctuary? Let us know on FacebookTwitter or by email.

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