Baalijin House, a new Bellingen home designed and built by Fisher Design + Architecture, has been selected as one of eight finalists in the New Single Dwelling category of the 2013 BPN Sustainability Awards.
Baalijin House embraces the spirit of sustainable living and wellbeing, responding to the natural environment to create living spaces that are naturally lit, well ventilated, and designed to have a low environmental impact. Home made pressed earth brick walls provide a natural and rustic backdrop for local hardwoods, recycled timber, and plywood paneling. Baalijin House is colourful, vibrant, warm and inviting while being earthy, raw and robust – an appropriate addition to the Bellingen built environment.
Nestled into a green urban hillside, Baalijin House was designed and built by its owners – the architects – with a focus on affordability, sustainability, and appropriateness for the site. Despite sitting on a small, easterly-oriented site, the building responds effectively with areas that are designed to feel much larger. Living spaces are open and flexible, and connect with the neighbouring landscape and common areas.
Going by a ‘DIY’ approach to material manufacture and construction, the owners undertook the various building procurement roles themselves, choosing raw, natural and robust products that are renewable or recycled. This includes a palette of ‘home made’ pressed earth bricks which were manufactured on a nearby site using locally sourced earth, timbers and labour.
Internally, a simple and efficiently composed design of the house optimises passive energy principles, with siting and correct orientation maximising views, solar access and natural ventilation. To the eastern wall, sliding glass doors allow for cross ventilation, flooding the interior spaces with natural light. On the upper floor, a loft ‘box’ is featured as a multi-purpose room for meditation, reading, yoga or play. This loft is open and light-filled, with glass louvred openings providing links to the spaces below and allowing for thermal flushing during summer.
A holistic design is clearly evident when one looks at or lives in the Baalijin House, with the assurance of passive design, and sustainable energy systems and materials ultimately reducing the building’s energy demand, and creating an organic, contemporary and affordable home.
BPN online newsletter 2013