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Green Smart Magazine : GreenSmart 2010
greensmart 2010 13 Glenn Batson uttered two words that are music to every design team's ears -- 'blank canvas'. On the receiving end was director Darren Evans of Solar Solutions Design, who Glenn had engaged to build his new sustainable dream house in Ceres, about 15 minutes west of Victoria's Geelong. For Darren, it was a dream come true. His company practises a 'site-before-design' approach, so when Glenn approached him with his 9.5-hectare block and an opportunity to push the boundaries, it was an ideal fit. 'Glenn wanted to create something out there and up there,' Darren recalls. Having said that, he also wanted environmental features, views from every room, an integrated lap pool, timber panelling, and a strong stone theme using Gosford Quarries sandstone blocks. In order for the house to achieve its GreenSmart credentials -- it recently rated 7.6 stars for energy -- the gusty wind needed attention first. The main problem is that Glenn's site is on a rolling slope and subject to strong south-westerly winds, so Darren had to effectively car ve out a hole in a hill while giving the impression the new house had always been there. 'We worked out how the wind was travelling and moved the house around to the east and dropped it down, so that most of the wind shot over the top. Now the house is effectively buffeted by the land,' Darren says. With the wind under control, the design of the rest of the house could commence. Darren calls it 'contemporary Australian'. 'This house has a very relaxed look. It's not uptight or too pretentious. It respects the site and just flows there,' he says. At the end of a long driveway, the single- level house has a split-material façade of Gosford sandstone and muted render tones, to suit the rural landscape. Feature timber cladding brings rich colour into the façade, Given a blank canvas, Solar Solutions Design was able to create a stunning, energy-efficient property.delight designer's 'THE HOUSE IS GENERATING POWER ALL THE TIME, AND WITH ITS POWER USAGE IT'D BE FAIRLY CLOSE TO A NEUTRAL FOOTPRINT' LEFT: Decking stretches across the entire northern side of the house, and makes the most of the views. ABOVE: The split-material façade of sandstone and render suits the rural landscape. > story > Annie Reid