Sanctuary 53 out now: Prefab and modular special

Inspired by local walkers' huts, this small family home on New Zealand's North Island used prefabricated panel construction and was erected on site in just four days. Image: David Straight
This issue, we profile a collection of sustainable homes that make the most of prefabricated and modular construction. We also look at retrofitting homes for bushfire resilience and present a roadmap for carbon zero homes, plus much more.

While the prefabricated and modular industry still occupies a relatively small share of the Australian residential construction market, it continues to gain momentum and attract interest – particularly for its potential to deliver high-performing homes while cutting building time and minimising waste. And with many people responding to pandemic lockdowns and increased working from home by making the move out of our cities, prefab has promise for quick, easy and sustainable builds on their new blocks.

Among our climate-resilient house profiles this issue we feature a collection of six homes that make the most of this constantly innovating construction method. They range from an elevated granny flat built without disturbing an established garden, to an inner Melbourne infill house delivered as four stacked modules, and an off-grid home on a beautiful site near Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains. There’s a small family house on New Zealand’s North Island that was designed with Passive House principles in mind and erected on site in just four days using flatpacked panels. And on our cover, a ‘kit of parts’ prefab construction approach was the answer for this lovely, affordable custom designed house on the Victorian coast. Also, for those now working from home more permanently or just needing a little more space, we explore what prefab has to offer for comfortable and energy-efficient home offices and studios.

Take a look inside Sanctuary 53.

Also in this issue …

It’s summer again, with much of the country bracing for the possibility of bushfire. We bring you two articles from bushfire design experts: Nigel Bell explains what you can do to retrofit your existing home to increase its chances of surviving a bushfire, and in our Design Workshop, Ian Weir gives a Kangaroo Island resident some advice on how to create a fire resilient sanctuary that still makes the most of the views. Following hot on the heels of architects and engineers, Australian builders have banded together to form Builders Declare a Climate & Biodiversity Emergency. In this issue, founding member Jeremy Spencer explains the movement’s core mission to make carbon zero homes mainstream and presents a simple roadmap for getting there.

Elsewhere, in On the drawing board Tasmanian designers Michael Shrapnel and Agnes Nienhaus write about the creative process behind a design for a quirky, sustainable off-grid home repurposing buildings from an old film set. And we take a look at how easy it is to create a native food kitchen garden at home, no matter the size of your space – plus much more.

Sanctuary 53 is on its way to subscribers and on sale in newsagents now. You can buy a copy online or subscribe to get every issue delivered. 

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

Latest articles
Nourished by nature: Garden design for mental  health and wellbeing

Nourished by nature: Garden design for mental health and wellbeing

There’s plenty of evidence that connection with nature is beneficial for both mind and body. We speak to the experts about designing gardens for improved mood and wellbeing, and what we can do at home to create green spaces that give back in a therapeutic way.

Read more
Avoiding the winter cold: Housing retrofits as a health intervention

Avoiding the winter cold: Housing retrofits as a health intervention

As well as reducing your energy bills and your carbon footprint, upgrading your home’s building envelope can have a positive effect on your health and wellbeing. Health researcher Dr Toby Cumming explains.

Read more
A knotty issue: Responsibly sourced timber

A knotty issue: Responsibly sourced timber

While timber is a renewable resource, its harvesting is often associated with deforestation practices that are harmful to the environment. We look at the current state of sustainable timber in Australia, and how to make sure the wood you use for your build is as responsible as possible.

Read more