Future-focussed Passive House - Kallista


A unique and sustainable home that blends into its rural surrounds, Kallista is a testament to the many constraints that have inspired this creative outcome. Briefed to design a soft, round and warm residence, our clients were seeking a departure from the typical new build home.

Looking locally for inspiration, a charred fallen log on the home's bushland site inspired the striking elliptical design. To support our client's desire for an accessible and future-proofed home to accommodate all ages and abilities into retirement, we opted for a compact single-level floorplan, a solution that marries curves and pragmatics.

Maximising the view and ambience of the surrounding bush was also key to the brief. Local council regulations required the established grey gums on the site be maintained, which, alongside the steep gradient, limited the ground space available for building. Our solution protects the landscape by elevating and projecting the single-level home out from the topography, while the rounded structure also prevents leaf litter build up and supports ember shed as per the strict bushfire design regulations.

The dense overarching tree canopy presented another challenge as it obstructed the sun, limiting solar access to the home and potentially causing condensation issues. Employing Passive House design principles and construction methodologies including a 'magic box' heat recovery ventilation / hot water / heating and cooling unit, one of the first in Australia, resolved these issues. Passive house methodologies carefully control insulation and air leakage, building orientation and shading, and recovery and filtration of indoor air to manage temperature and air quality.

The project ticks many boxes to achieve a residence that has met council, fire safety, and environmental requirements, as well as the client's lifestyle and aesthetic needs. The "smart technology" resolves ventilation issues and helps maintain a comfortable and constant ambient temperature through seasonal fluctuations.

Commendation, Best Energy Efficient Design-Residential, Building Designers Association of Victoria, 2018.

Commendation, Excellence In Use Of Steel, Building Designers Association of Victoria, 2018.


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  • Passive House design principles / Passivhaus
  • future-proofed
  • smart technology
  • sustainable design
  • enhanced fire safety
  • distinctive curved structure
  • maximised views