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2015 House of the Year revealed at Master Builders Awards

By Canfan - 29 June 2015 18

2015 MBA House of the Year

A country home built by Canberra business Select Structures has taken out three residential building awards, including House of the Year 2015, at the 25th Master Builders and Cbus Excellence in Building Awards on Friday evening.

The home, Tutto Bene, also won Sustainable Construction – Residential, Custom Built Homes 250m2 to 350m2, ahead of 15 other finalists.

About the home:

Nestled on a 40 acre bush block at the foothills of the Tinderry Mountain range, lies a home owner’s dream called Tutto Bene.

Select Structure used hand crafted elements within the design, encompassing a natural stone wall rising three floors from the stony cellar foundations, while the majority of the stone used throughout the residence was sourced from the construction site. The living areas within create a seamless space leading to a large entertaining area.

This solar oriented home is self-sufficient in terms of water supply, power and waste management. Energy efficient fixtures include the giant fan that has been custom built into the atrium style kitchen/family room and sensor blinds which close when the sun sets to maintain internal temperature. Tutto Bene also possesses some quirky inclusions such as a pair of spectacular timber doors salvaged from the demolition of military barracks located in Italy, an impressive set of timber internal stairs recycled from timber seats once used at the National Botanic Gardens and a belowground cellar which is carved into natural rock.

The high level of workmanship and attention to detail lead the Judges to declare that this very functional home is the best they have seen in years. This home is not just a house, the precise concern afforded to every component and the warm environment has transformed it into a work of art framed by the surrounding mountain ranges.

A full list of Master Builders and Cbus Excellence in Building Awards winners can be found here.

What’s Your opinion?


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18 Responses to
2015 House of the Year revealed at Master Builders Awards
rubaiyat 4:14 pm 04 Jul 15

Southmouth said :

Canberra needs a competition where each winter, people volunteer their homes to be put to the test as to how low energy they really are. I read lots of claims and theorizing on this forum and by builders and architects but it seems all froth and bubble if there are never any controlled tests.

Been done a thousand times.

It is not “claims and theorizing” (american?), nor “froth and bubble”.

None of this is new. Harry Seidler turned up here post WWII from Vienna and immediately his eye was drawn to the sun being in the north, not the south or east, as so many in Canberrans seem to think, and he built appropriately.

The only thing absent is the eyes opened, and the ears cleaned out.

Maya123 2:24 pm 04 Jul 15

Southmouth said :

Canberra needs a competition where each winter, people volunteer their homes to be put to the test as to how low energy they really are. I read lots of claims and theorizing on this forum and by builders and architects but it seems all froth and bubble if there are never any controlled tests.

+1. That would be the awards that would appeal to me the most. But it is not only the design of the house, but individual parts, such as efficiency of windows (how much they leak), etc. These individual things should be published too. It might help reduce shoddy manufacture, if, for example, the oh so wonderful double glazed windows were shown to leak badly, and their window thermal breaks were nowhere as good as advertised.

Southmouth 7:50 am 04 Jul 15

Canberra needs a competition where each winter, people volunteer their homes to be put to the test as to how low energy they really are. I read lots of claims and theorizing on this forum and by builders and architects but it seems all froth and bubble if there are never any controlled tests.

rubaiyat 10:56 am 30 Jun 15

Holden Caulfield said :

Maya123 said :

Holden Caulfield said :

Maya123 said :

I wonder how energy efficient this house is really. It doesn’t particularly look it.

Based on that one image how can you be so firm in your view?

Because in a climate such as Canberra, to minimise heating needs (ie, hardly ever) the house needs good access (large windows) to the sun on the northern side…

Yes, I agree with most of that, however without knowing the orientation it’s difficult to be so certain. I do think you shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss Canberra’s summers and the overhangs of that covered area would be very welcome, even with an ideal orientation.

Further, it seems so much of what makes a house efficient in the eyes of the regulators is measured by things we can’t see, such as insulation etc. All good in theory, but back in the day when I built my first house (2000) I was surprised at how easy it was to smash a 5-star rating. I do share your scepticism.

I thought this house looked very nice at first, but after seeing the extra pics (thanks vintage123) I think I’ll reserve my judgement!

One assumes the long side faces north, if it doesn’t then it is way worse.

Canberra’s summers are hardly ever overly hot and that is all handled by shorter eaves, because the sun is high in the sky.Long eaves only impede air flow. If you want outdoor living, that doesn’t have to be under enormous eaves, there are much better ways of handling that using either vegetation to provide seasonal shade/sun or a slatted pavilion that doesn’t obstruct light and warmth.

Insulation is there to retain or bar heat. If you don’t have the sun’s warmth in the first place, you are having to massively heat or cool a badly designed house and stop losing/gaining heat from outside. Lose/Lose.

None of this is either new or that difficult. Although the later seems to be based on assumptions about all the people involved, who seem to have a remarkable knack for ignoring common sense.

Holden Caulfield 9:36 am 30 Jun 15

Maya123 said :

Holden Caulfield said :

Maya123 said :

I wonder how energy efficient this house is really. It doesn’t particularly look it.

Based on that one image how can you be so firm in your view?

Because in a climate such as Canberra, to minimise heating needs (ie, hardly ever) the house needs good access (large windows) to the sun on the northern side…

Yes, I agree with most of that, however without knowing the orientation it’s difficult to be so certain. I do think you shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss Canberra’s summers and the overhangs of that covered area would be very welcome, even with an ideal orientation.

Further, it seems so much of what makes a house efficient in the eyes of the regulators is measured by things we can’t see, such as insulation etc. All good in theory, but back in the day when I built my first house (2000) I was surprised at how easy it was to smash a 5-star rating. I do share your scepticism.

I thought this house looked very nice at first, but after seeing the extra pics (thanks vintage123) I think I’ll reserve my judgement!

rubaiyat 7:50 am 30 Jun 15

I can’t see the whole house but just from what we can see, I really question the “environmental” credentials.

The verandah overhang is huge, totally stopping any sunlight penetrating the glass and warming the interior in winter.

That huge stone wall whilst being a thermal store, is more out than in, and far from being a benefit to the interior comfort of the occupants is probably acting as a large radiator fin linked to the external temperature, not the internal.

The whole thing is: Looks like/Sounds like, not is. Muesli Environmentalism.

But we get that all the time now, fashion hijacking function, with the blessedly ignorant swallowing it all without question.

vintage123 9:51 pm 29 Jun 15

isn’t it interesting how the categories are now majority size based as opposed to cost based. I remember when there were awards for best build for 150k, 250k etc. I guess it’s a bit alarming to have it now as best residential building for 900k etc. I guess instead of houses we now have best renovation over 1 million or best kitchen for 100k.

Maya123 9:24 pm 29 Jun 15

Funky1 said :

Maya123 said :

I wonder how energy efficient this house is really. It doesn’t particularly look it. That’s the first thing I judge a house for. Does it need cooling or heating, and if so, how often. The rest is then icing on the cake, and it is a nice looking house, but that doesn’t make it energy efficient. I really suspect it is heated.

One would assume that huge rock wall right through the middle of the house and going down below ground level would help immensely in the moderation of any temperature changes throughout the day and night.

A slab will be insulated (or should be) around the edges. I don’t know how that wall is insulated, but in the photograph it appears to flow outside the house without any, but there could be some clever hidden way it is insulated. (Or not.)

Maya123 6:33 pm 29 Jun 15

Holden Caulfield said :

Maya123 said :

I wonder how energy efficient this house is really. It doesn’t particularly look it.

Based on that one image how can you be so firm in your view?

Because in a climate such as Canberra, to minimise heating needs (ie, hardly ever) the house needs good access (large windows) to the sun on the northern side, and minimal windows on the other sides. The huge roof overhang would limit the sun this house gets, and if the north is the other side of the house, then this side should not have so much glass, which allows heat to travel though faster than a well insulated wall, even if it’s double glazed. That can be easily viewed in this one picture.
There are other ways to make a house fairly energy efficient, such as very thickly insulated walls, etc and tiny windows, but that would more usually be done in cold countries where the sun does not shine often in winter. Such a house would still need a heater, but the amount the heater is needed would be greatly reduced by the very think walls and small windows. The house on display is obviously not an example of that; as also it does not appear either to be an example of a solar passive house.

Funky1 6:10 pm 29 Jun 15

Maya123 said :

I wonder how energy efficient this house is really. It doesn’t particularly look it. That’s the first thing I judge a house for. Does it need cooling or heating, and if so, how often. The rest is then icing on the cake, and it is a nice looking house, but that doesn’t make it energy efficient. I really suspect it is heated.

One would assume that huge rock wall right through the middle of the house and going down below ground level would help immensely in the moderation of any temperature changes throughout the day and night.

vintage123 4:11 pm 29 Jun 15

Holden Caulfield said :

Maya123 said :

I wonder how energy efficient this house is really. It doesn’t particularly look it.

Based on that one image how can you be so firm in your view?

http://housinglocal.com.au/hia-awards/regional-housing-awards/actsnsw/2014-award-winners/actsnsw/home.aspx

Holden Caulfield 3:34 pm 29 Jun 15

Maya123 said :

I wonder how energy efficient this house is really. It doesn’t particularly look it.

Based on that one image how can you be so firm in your view?

vintage123 2:35 pm 29 Jun 15

Holden Caulfield said :

From the link:

“Winner : Fitout, Refurbishment or Alteration $1-$5 Million : AKIBA”

I had no idea it that would have been a seven figure fitout! Let’s hope they stick around for a while and sell a lot of food.

Ah, how times have changed. Out of interest, how much did you think it was going to be? I mean, if we are happy to pay a couple of million for eight shipping containers and some steel, imagine what the quality fit outs and builds are costing.

Maya123 2:32 pm 29 Jun 15

I wonder how energy efficient this house is really. It doesn’t particularly look it. That’s the first thing I judge a house for. Does it need cooling or heating, and if so, how often. The rest is then icing on the cake, and it is a nice looking house, but that doesn’t make it energy efficient. I really suspect it is heated.

Holden Caulfield 1:59 pm 29 Jun 15

From the link:

“Winner : Fitout, Refurbishment or Alteration $1-$5 Million : AKIBA”

I had no idea it that would have been a seven figure fitout! Let’s hope they stick around for a while and sell a lot of food.

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