“The house is a machine for living in” said Le Corbusier. Paraphrasing his thought, a hundred years later, we should say that “the house is a machine for sustainable living”. A true contemporary project, in fact, must be able to measure itself not only with the needs of man as an individual and part of a social nucleus (as in the days of the great Swiss master) but also with those of the environment.
Working on this combination is complicated and understanding how to do it, using yourself as guinea pigs, works. This is why the house of Clinton Cole, director of CplusC Architectural Workshop is emblematic: it represents the absolute celebration of the symbiosis between architecture, landscape and sustainability and a sort of manifesto of a professional at the same time.
This house, friendly called Welcome to the Jungle House (WTTJH), in the heart of Sydney, demonstrates how architecture is by no means a form of consumerism that expresses canons of beauty, but is an element capable of generating and containing energy, it is a volume that collects and recycles water, it is a shell that reuses the waste it produces, a cell that gives life to its own crop: fruit, vegetables, fish, honey and eggs.
“An architecture that nourishes the mind, body and soul,” Clinton explains. “This is what I wanted to achieve: a place where landscape, food, nature, garden, environment, energy, waste, water and beauty exist in a symbolic way under one roof”. Literally. Because the roof garden is the place where the whole family spends most of their time. “This is where we breathe the strongest bond with nature and urban agriculture in the city,” emphasizes the landlord. But let's take a step back.
When the architect's family discovered this triangular building in ruins, a former warehouse-shop on two floors, with a concrete facade, with a post-industrial character and historical heritage, it was love at first sight. The potential to transform this unusual building into a beacon of integrated sustainability, an architecture of climate change activism, seduced Mr. Cole, Hanne and their three children.
The first decision was to create a second, internal skin, capable of communicating with the external part, protected by the superintendent. This membrane, in glass, completely transparent, in addition to respecting the pre-existing architectural fabric, allows the house to breathe and live. Plenty of natural light floats in this room crowded with plants, which create the natural flow of air or air conditioning throughout the home, and fish ponds are connected to the irrigation system on the roof to deliver nutrient-enriched water. On the façade there are large windows framed by pre-rusted Corten structures in contrast with the new openings in glossy white steel.
And it is always on the facade that the photovoltaic panels used to produce energy are accommodated, unnoticed. “It is a house made of small bespoke details” explains the host architect “which, when considered collectively, create an incredibly sustainable project where the efficiency of the building coexists with its long life. This is a house that will live on for generations”. But let's go inside.
Here a central spiral staircase, which optimizes the limited space by extending along all three floors, acts as a light well but also as a natural fan that extracts fresh air from the concrete slab on the ground floor in cold periods and pushes the warm air. out of the glass skin during the warmer months. Three floors, 98 square meters in total, well designed and divided into three specific areas of use: ground floor with large entrance, play area and garage for electric cars, of course. The first floor houses the entire sleeping area, with fluid and flexible bedrooms, perfect for a family with growing children. While the top floor houses the common areas, kitchen, living room and large dining room that interact with the terrace overlooking the jungle of the city.
Finally, a ladder invites you to climb the large vegetable garden-orchard and small animal farm on the roof. A sort of personal farmers market from where the family collects most of the food consumed at home. “I like to think that this personal project satisfies our lifestyle, our ethical and emotional needs but is also capable of educating the public on how sustainable design and construction practices can be symbolically adopted in architectural design”.
A holistically sustainable, educational and perfectly livable project, which honors the creed of CplusC Architectural Workshop. A poetic and real vision for a better future.