To combat urban sprawl, counteract social isolation and often unreachable real estate prices, architects MWArchitekten designed Duplex on a Hill to address these issues. The sustainable duplex has a small footprint, are well-priced and they encourage multi-generational families to live under one roof but with privacy.
The homes are flooded with natural light from well-placed double glazed, timber framed windows which also provide all the home’s cooling requirements through efficient cross flow ventilation. There is no air conditioning in these homes so the spaces rely on the ability to be able to open up to cooling breezes. An operable skylight over the staircase also provides ventilation and allows for each home to flush out hot air. This sustainable home is heated solely by a geothermal heat pump.
Timber has been used extensively throughout the homes, starting with the timber structural elements, exterior wall cladding, timber decking, internal flooring, ceiling lining, joinery and furniture. All of which is either locally sourced and/or certified timber.
The homes have been carefully designed to step down the hill to minimise their impact on the landscape, without the need for large amounts of excavation. A couple of steps have been cleverly integrated to delineate the kitchen and lounge room zones whilst still achieving open plan living spaces.
The extensive use of timber and the restrained materials palette creates a unified space and help to make the homes feel generously sized and roomy, when in actual fact each home has only a footprint of 125sqm. Meticulously planned to utilise every inch or centimeter of the site, the house sits over three levels connected by an open staircase topped with a skylight to draw further light into the home.
Related project: If you like multi-level small footprint homes, check out 100% Wooden House
– Sustainable duplex with a small footprint
– Heating via geothermal heat pump
– Operable skylight used for ventilation and to flush hot air from the home
– Cooling is via cross flow ventilation.
– Timber structural elements
– Cellulose insulation used in the timber framed walls
– Extensive use of timber throughout – a mix of sustainable, certified and locally sourced
– Untreated or oiled timber
The challenge to create something beautiful with little resources and with the restriction of the construction site required a carefully planned house up to the furnishings. The aim of the architect couple was to create an ecological architecture that does not fall into sterility and artificiality. As a model for this purpose the architects studied housing typologies that have been developed over generations. The facade design is based on the atmospheric qualities of these traditional structures. Each half of the semi-detached house receives its individual fingerprint.
Nadine is the founder and editor of Eco Edition and founder of the Eco Edition Design School. She’s an experienced interior designer, sustainable materials consultant, speaker and serial home renovator.