Biophilia – Slate House Northcote / Marc Bernstein-Hussmann

Biophilia – Slate House Northcote / Marc Bernstein-Hussmann

Project: Biophilia – Slate House Northcote
Architects: Marc Bernstein-Hussmann / Melbourne Design Studios
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Year: 2019
Photo Credits: Peter Clarke

Biophilia – Slate House Northcote: A well-proportioned, high-tech, sustainable home for a family of five that connects with nature, benefiting the residents’ health and well-being. The pitched slate form, reminiscent of the traditional vernacular, combines with contemporary minimalist detailing, bridging past and present : A re-think of the suburban house.

Biophilia – Slate House Northcote / Marc Bernstein-Hussmann

Biophilia – Slate House is designed to interact and engage with nature, the essence of Biophilic design. Below the strong monolithic slate form, a simple ground floor plan interweaves with nature, meandering out and in, carving two courtyards, at once grounding the house in the garden and drawing the garden back into the house. The building invites the adjacent park into the garden, borrowing natural vistas and extending the backyard, whilst embracing its wider contextual surroundings. Urban food production, green roofs and integrated planters create additional intimate connections with nature.
Natural materials predominate, slate, timber – inside and out, brick – old and new, and different natural stone treatments complement the biophilic nature by creating texture, inspiring continuous engagement with delightful architectural spaces.

Biophilia – Slate House Northcote / Marc Bernstein-Hussmann

Courtyards play a key role in this; allowing direct north sun deeper into the house and also promoting excellent natural ventilation. Seamlessly integrated technology such as a large solar PV array forms part of the architecture, and the integrated external shading coupled with correct orientation adds to the energy efficiency strategy.

dining room / Marc Bernstein-Hussmann

In summary, nature, craftsmanship and environmental sustainability are fundamental to the success of this design. The strong vernacular form upstairs, created by traditional slate cladding, ties the house well into the streetscape.

Biophilia – Slate House Northcote / Marc Bernstein-Hussmann

Holistic sustainability concept integrated seamlessly into the design, e.g.
1. Green roof and planters enhance biodiversity, mitigate urban heat island affect, reduce stormwater runoff
2. Biophilia–a deep connection with nature benefits occupants’ health and well-being.
3. Re-used materials, natural materials, low-VOC materials reduce embodied energies/create a healthy living environment
4. Passive solar design–High insulation levels with vapour control/airtightness membrane, thermal mass, active+passive shading, high performance windows (thermally broken and double glazed), courtyards for ventilation and deep solar access, etc
5. Integrated active systems like the large solar PV array forms an integral part of the overall design
6. Home automation assists a sustainable lifestyle, eg. alarm is raised when switching on AC while window is open, etc.
7. Innovative Heating/Cooling strategy via solar PV and heat pump technology maximises free solar energy, designed to be Net Zero. The house was designed to maximise passive solar heating, while cooling is provided when ample energy is generated up on the roof. Excess energy then cools the slab, effectively turning the slab into a battery for renewable energy storage.

pool / Marc Bernstein-Hussmann

bedroom / Marc Bernstein-Hussmann

pool / Marc Bernstein-Hussmann

Biophilia – Slate House Northcote / Marc Bernstein-Hussmann

Biophilia – Slate House Northcote / Marc Bernstein-Hussmann

Most Recent

Most Popular

Highland East House

Highland East House by COLAB Architecture + Urban Design

The Highland East House is a 4,300 square foot, five-bedroom, four-bathroom residence located in Portland’s SW Hills. The design harkens back to a Pacific Northwest style of mid-century modern houses constructed in Portland in the nineteen sixties.
Modern Living Space 13

Modern Living Space by Sue Murphy Interior Design

This project is a modern living space designed by Sue Murphy Interior Design based in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. A bold, contemporary kitchen-dinning space with a...
Minimalist Single Storey Terrace House by Fabian Tan Architect 5

Minimalist Single Storey Terrace House / Fabian Tan Architect

The house is a typical single storey terrace house on a plot of 23' x 75' land. The original house layout is typically closed and the brief was to create an open plan on one side and private rooms on the other side of the dividing center wall.
Fish Creek House - a Small, Off-the-Grid Holiday Home by ArchiBlox

Fish Creek House, a Small Off-the-Grid Holiday Home by ArchiBlox

The Fish Creek House was designed to maximize sustainability & liveability. Careful positioning takes full advantage of natural cooling, heating, and lighting.

Modern Australian Farm House with Passive Solar Design

This modern Australian farm house was designed by Archterra Architects in Margaret River, Western Australia. Description by Archterra: This house sits along a ridge between...

More Articles Like This