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The owner of this property in Malvern East was looking to achieve a high level of accommodation within the constraints of a modest site footprint.  To achieve the desired functional outcome, it was decided to build both above and below ground level.

Where basements are often used for vehicle parking, the stacking or lifting mechanisms required on this site would have meant an inefficient use of valuable space.   Instead, vehicles are parked at ground level directly off the street, while the basement is used for utility spaces, a cellar, a home office, and a large living / entertainment space.  Natural light is conveyed to the basement level via a linear light court, which provides access to the elements while ensuring quiet privacy.

Vertical movement is facilitated via a stair, which wraps around a central lift, providing disabled access from the basement, to ground and first floors.  Ground level features the main living / dining / kitchen space, access to the rear paved courtyard, and a powder room.  The first floor is given over to the private bedroom spaces and associated bathrooms.

Materials were selected specifically for their bushfire resistance, and include concrete block masonry, corten steel, and metal cladding.  The architectural detailing kept the roof shapes simple for ease of maintenance and in an effort to minimise areas subject to bushfire ember attack.

A sloped site, the house has three distinct split levels comprising the main living space, children’s bedrooms, and parents bedroom suite.  Over the main living space, a high skillion roof allows for a mezzanine level above the kitchen area, which in turn is furnished with windows bringing natural light into the living space below.

While the house is largely connected to reticulated services, the site has no connection to mains sewer.  The design utilises a wet-composting worm farm septic treatment system with secondary reed-bed treatment for black-water treatment on site.  This type of system works on gravity, and is totally passive, requiring no electrical connection.  In theory, the system should require no pumping out maintenance, although six monthly inspections are mandated by Council regulation.