The Convertible House

The Convertible House is an alternative environmentally sustainable fire and storm resistant dwelling designed by Kevin Starling of Designology. The house is off grid and produces its own power, collects rain water and treats waste water on site. Following HIA Greensmart principles (that are designed to help improve the quality of Australia’s homes and their environments) The Convertible House is located near Daylesford in Victoria, Australia.

Australia is susceptible to extreme weather and the design of the house addresses this. The house can be closed off using corrugated iron shutters to prevent storm and fire damage. Due to the off grid design and flexible features the Convertible House can be adapted to suit a wide range of climate zones.

the convertible house
The Convertible House is an off grid dwelling that generates its own power, collects water and processes its own waste.

“Being completely off the grid, the house had to be heavily insulated. In effect it has a ‘dual skin’. Under the roof and wall cladding is a thin insulation layer which not only provides a
thermal break but also reduces noise.”
Kevin Starling said.

The original design brief for the house set the requirements. It needed to meet the following criteria:

  • Environmentally sustainable
  • Durable
  • Semi-prefabricated
  • Cost competitive
  • Low embodied energy
  • High security
  • Storm & Fire resistant
  • Flexible (“Convertible House” refers to the ease with which the configuration can be altered because there are no internal load-bearing walls)
  • Kevin Starling and his family are now permanently living in the house.

Have a look at this episode of Architel where Kevin Starling is interviewed and shows some of the key features of his design.

The Convertible House has received some impressive awards including:

  • Winner Building Designers Association Victoria (BDAV) 2010 ”Most Innovative Use of Steel” Award
  • Winner BDAV 2010 “Best Environmentally Sustainable Design – Residential”
  • Winner BDAV 2010 “Best Energy Efficient Design – Residential”
  • Winner BDAV 2010 “Most Innovative Use of Water”
  • Winner Australian Steel Industry 2010 “Creative Innovations in Steel Design” Award
  • Highly Commended Building Products News 2010 Sustainability Awards “Single Dwelling (New)“
  • Winner of the 2007 National GREX House of the Future
  • Highly Commended 2007 HIA National GreenSmart Awards

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