Glasshouse Mountains Residence is a project, by Maytree Studios, that has spanned a number of years and three major phases of work.

The first phase included a minor renovation to the workers’ cottage, followed by the addition of a living room, which would act as a knuckle for the third phase of work. The last phase saw the addition of a double car garage, laundry and a large double height volume living, kitchen and rumpus space inspired by a traditional barn. The structure and skin of the building are built from recycled materials – an oregon portal frame with expressed steel connections and second-hand bricks – creating an industrial interior environment. A storage wall and stair, shelter the long western side of the barn from hot Queensland afternoon sun. High-level louvres provide vast opportunity for cross ventilation, making the home a successful study in passive cooling.

The new barn extension is oriented in such a way as to frame an existing orchid tree in the largely glazed exterior. The orientation and the beautiful tree provide privacy and shade for the interior. A central courtyard and fire pit have been created as the social heart of the home, with sliding doors and windows opening out seamlessly into this space, creating connectivity between the indoors and outdoors. The brief for this project was to create an interconnected living space that was dynamic and bold. Inspired by the show Grand Designs, the request for the barn typology came from the clients.

The major extension is an exercise in a modest use of recycled materials to achieve maximum impact and meet sustainability requests. The height and span of the building are driven by the structural capacity of the oregon beams sourced online from a recycled warehouse. The home uses passive cooling techniques through high louvre windows to achieve great cross ventilation. The orientation of the sun over winter and summer was considered to ensure adequate shade in summer while using the masonry walls to absorb the sun and provide warmth in winter evenings. The home is a study in low tech sustainable design and will hopefully influence projects to come.

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