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Corten steel facade of net-zero home
Corten steel cladding on net-zero home
Veranda of corten steel clad net-zero home

Open plan living, a commitment to sustainability and a family home which connects directly to the landscape were the guiding principles behind the home’s design by Faulkner Architects. Miner Road House sits just outside of San Fransisco, at the foot of a hill next to a seasonal creek and under the shade of a majestic Valley Oak tree – so the home was designed to drink in this ever changing view. Expansive windows and huge retractable glass doors allow the family to feel a part of the environment, with the lush greenery providing a constant backdrop as they move throughout the light-filled house.

Use of natural materials inside the home further enhance the biophilic design, with smell of the unfinished timber and feel of the timber floorboards and basalt stone under foot building a multi-sensory connection to the landscape. The Corten steel facade with its mottled patina provides a visual connection to the texture and colour of the surrounding tree trunks. It also helps to soften the monolothic form of the house and settles it into the landscape.

Related project: If you like Corten steel, take a look at The Nature Conservancy headquarters project.

Timber flooring and timber lined ceiling in net-zero home
Outdoor entertaining area of net-zero home with Corten steel facade

Building materials and construction methods were weighed up between initial costs and lifecycle costs. Corten steel for the exterior was chosen because of it’s zero maintenance costs. Similarly, the unfinished oak which lines the internal walls and ceilings was also selected for this reason and it gives the home a soft and welcoming glow. The home’s shotcrete foundations have also been left unfinished and the formwork was repurposed for timber framing.

Aside from minimising maintenance costs, these materials proved simple to detail and to build, which reduced labour costs. This allowed for a larger portion of the budget to be spent on up-specing the insulation, glazing and mechanical systems.

This energy efficient home is highly insulated and efficiently glazed which reduces its heating and cooling requirements. This helps the home’s photovoltaic system to produce more energy than the house uses.

Rainwater is collected and stored in buried storage tanks for use in toilets and the laundry. The home’s greywater is collected and reused to water the garden.

The home was celebrated as the subject of the architect’s first book called Miner Road House: Faulkner Architects and is part of the Masterpiece Series published by Oscar Riera Ojeda Publishers.

Timber interior of net-zero home
Kitchen with timber joinery and stone bench top in net-zero home
Biophilic design in net-zero home

Sustainability specs:
– Passively designed – north facing home
– Low to zero maintenance materials were selected – Corten steel, unfinished oak
– Highly insulated
– Photovoltaic solar array produces more energy that the house uses
– Floor to ceiling windows and retractable doors provide views and fresh air
– Rainwater is collected and reused in toilets and laundry
– Greywater is reused to water the garden
– Timber used in the foundations formwork was reused
– Biophilic design
– Natural materials used inside to provide sensory connection to the landscape
– Energy recovery ventilation provides fresh air
– Net-zero home

Lounge room with timber lined ceiling in net-zero house
View through trees looking towards net-zero house
Sitting room with corten steel mesh and timber lined ceiling
Master bedroom with timber lined ceiling in net-zero home
Perforated corten steel veranda screens
From the architect:

A three-bedroom program began as a remodel of a 1954 ranch house at the foot of a hill next to a seasonal creek. After finding the existing structure and soils to be unsuitable, the direction settled on reusing the existing footprint under the shade of a Valley Oak that had grown up close to the original house. The surviving portion of the original house is the fireplace which was wrapped in concrete and utilized for structural support. This made additional grading unnecessary and allowed the new house to maintain the same intimate relation to the old oak.

Images courtesy of Faulkner Architects. Photography by Joe Fletcher Photography and Drone Promotions
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