MM House 2021

This profile is written and maintained by the homeowner, architect, or builder.

House Notes – MM House

At first glance, MM House’s striking forms and spaces are uncompromisingly distinct and contemporary. However, the more interesting story is that the genius of the design comes from the site’s constraints, local context and a focus on multivalent sustainability.

During the tours, the owner/designer will present key aspects of this unique family home including:

  • The process of design with a focus on resilience and flexibility
  • The way the building has been designed to evolve over time
  • The process of building an airtight home
  • Hybrid approach to insulation and thermal mass
  • Demonstration of the heat recovery ventilation (HRV) system
  • Monitored results of the thermal performance of the building (in conjunction with Melbourne University)
  • Monitored results of energy consumption and production
  • Water-saving measures
  • And other learnings.

The house comprises three volumes, each having a morphed gable form uniquely optimised to capture light, views and passive solar. Mediated by the constraints of the heritage overlay, the gable-inspired profile nevertheless respects the amenity and echoes the charm of its neighbouring heritage bungalows.

A multivalent approach to sustainability guided all aspects of this project. After careful analysis of the existing 1978 Besser Block home, it was evident that renovating the existing was not feasible at a number of levels, in particular building envelope, spatial planning, orientation. However, an important decision was taken to reuse all of the existing strip foundations and concrete slab. This saved massive amounts of embodied energy; it also dovetailed with keeping the build footprint compact, further energising the path to an efficient floor plan.

Daily rituals, seasonal solar patterns, view corridors are synthesised. Moving through the home, one is presented with a multitude of ever-changing moments, subtly choreographed, offering unexpected glimpses within and beyond – place for contemplation and connection to the world outside.

The strong architectural intent has been equally matched with commitment to creating an efficient home constructed of materials with low embodied energy. Despite the site constraints, the home is flooded with winter sun and achieves an 8 Star energy rating. In addition, the building envelope is within the realms of Passivhaus standards, including air tightness.

The MM House is made from rammed earth, lightweight construction, and timber cladding both internally and externally. It works to maximise the benefit of thermal mass within the structure and embraces cross-flow, heat stack ventilation.

It was designed to potentially become autonomous – rainwater, greywater, solar, food production have been factored into design of the home and landscape.

This carefully crafted single dwelling caters for changing family dynamics by creating two adjustable and adaptive zones, allowing for future transformation into autonomous living quarters; a home not just for now, but one to be grown into.

The house also achieved 10 stars with the Victorian Residential Efficiency Scorecard. If you would like to find out more click here.

Find out more about EME Design.

SUSTAINABILITY FEATURES

Years Open
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
ENERGY AND WATER EFFICIENT FEATURES
    • Energy efficiency:
    • Draught proofing
      Efficient lighting
      Efficient appliances
      Energy monitoring
    • Passive heating cooling:
    • Cross ventilation
      Deciduous planting around house
      External planting
      Heat recovery ventilation system
      Passive solar designed home
      Shading
      Thermal chimney
      Thermal mass
    • Active heating cooling:
    • Ceiling fans
      Heat exchange ventilation system
      Heat pump
    • Water heating:
    • Hot water heat pump
    • Water harvesting and saving features:
    • Rainwater storage - Above ground
      Grey water system
      Stormwater management
      Low flow shower heads
      Low flow taps
      Drip irrigation

    • Average water consumption per day:
    • 50
    • Above ground rainwater storage Type:
    • low profile under deck tanks
    • Above ground rainwater storage Size
    • 11,000L
    • Water harvesting and saving
    • Under-deck tanks
    • Energy Efficient Lighting
    • LED lights throughout
      Natural daylight
    • Window Protection:
    • Awnings (external)
      Blinds
SUSTAINABLE & RECYCLED MATERIALS
    • Recycled and reused materials:
    • Existing concrete foundations for the entire home
    • Sustainable materials:
    • Australian hardwoods – Blackbutt, wormy chestnut, yellow stringybark, recycled tallowood and red gum, radiata pine plywood, radiata pine framing, eco concrete
    • Recycled and reused materials:
    • Aggregate
      Appliances
      Copper pipes/fittings
      Concrete
      Roofing material
      Sleepers
      Timber

INSULATION SPECIFICATIONS
    • Insulation Type:
    • Ceiling
      Internal walls
      Floor
    • Ceiling Type:
    • Bulk with roof blanket
    • Ceiling Rating:
    • R6.5
    • Floor Type:
    • High-density bulk
    • Floor Rating:
    • R5.0
    • Internal / External Walls Type:
    • High-density bulk
    • Internal / External Walls Rating:
    • R5.0
RENEWABLE ENERGY SPECIFICATIONS
    • All-Electric Home?
    • Yes
    • Renewable energy used:
    • Solar PV grid connect
    • Size of PV system:
    • 5kW
    • Average Daily Energy Consumption:
    • 12
HOUSE DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS
    • House Size
    • 198m2
    • Roof
    • Metal (Colorbond)
    • Wall Materials
    • Lightweight construction (timber frame)
      Rammed earth
      Reverse Brick veneer
      Timber
    • Window and Door Types
    • Clerestory windows
      Double glazing
      Low-e, films
      Sliding windows/doors
    • Universal design accessability
    • Adaptive design
      Multi-generational
    • Universal Design Features
    • 80cm minimum door opening width
      Hobless showers
      Lever handles for doors (no knobs)
      Shower head on rail for various heights
      Space around toilets for ease of access in wheelchairs
      Tapware to be easily accessed from outside the shower
    • Number of bedrooms
    • 4
    • Number of bathrooms
    • 3
GARDEN AND WASTE REDUCTION
    • Garden / Outdoors
    • Chickens
      Composting
      Drip irrigation
      Edible garden
      Local indigenous plants
      Organic
      Permaculture
      Native plants
      Water wise plants
      Wicking beds
      Worm farm
    • Waste Reduction Practices:
    • Compost all food scraps
      Recycle
      Repair
      Swap with friends and neighbours
HEALTHY HOME FEATURES
    • Healthy home features
    • Airtight house design
      Automated ventilation system
      Cabinet design to minimise dust collection
      Chemical free cleaning products used
      Cross flow ventilation
      Formaldehyde free cabinets
      Heat recovery ventilation (HRV)
      Indoor plants for air filtration
      Lime render/wash
      Low VOC paints/sealer/varnish
      Natural fibre furnishings
      Natural light and ventilation
      Natural oil sealer/finishes
      VOC free paints/sealer/varnish
Location
Northcote VIC 3070
    • Housing Type:
    • Standalone House
    • Project Type:
    • New Build
    • Builder
    • Owner
    • Designer
    • EME Design

View the house tour

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