37 and 39 Finniss Crescent, were designed by Ric Butt in 1995 and 1999. Both houses are solar passive redevelopments in an established residential suburb, designed to address Canberra’s cold winter and warm summer climate. They have floor to ceiling expanses of glass to the north and curved roofs and ceilings. The house at number 39 is a further refinement of Strine’s Millenium system of construction, first seen in the house at 5 Attwood Close, Gordon.
The two houses are an example of the late twentieth century organic style of architecture, with an emphasis on energy efficient design and architectural forms and colours that echo the natural environment.
37 Finniss Crescent
37 Finniss Crescent is a two storey, attached dual occupancy residence designed and built in 1995. The passive solar design includes orientation, substantial glazing to the north, thermal mass and extensive insulation. Construction is insulated concrete slab to the ground floor with full brick walls and an insulated timber floor to the upper storey, where brick veneer walls are sarked and insulated with fibreglass batts. The plasterboard ceiling is insulated and the Colorbond steel roof is sarked. The design and construction also facilitates acoustic privacy for the different family groupings within the residence. Recycling is also emphasised with stormwater being returned to the garden.
The design concept celebrates the elevated north facing position of the site, enhancing views and admitting northern sun into the residence. The narrow width of the block required a two storey design which also runs along the contours of the steep site. Privacy is enhanced by the roof being pulled down to the south and west and by small windows puncturing the generally solid and massive walls.
Entry is from the south, descending from the road to the darker enclosed southern space, through the lower entry to the higher, brighter living areas which open up to the landscape at the north. The curved roofs of the building soften its silhouette and erode its form to tie it back into the landscape and emphasise its organic qualities. A raised deck to the north provides an outdoor living space which utilises the slope of the site.
39 Finniss Crescent
39 Finniss Crescent is a solar passive, environmentally sustainable four bedroom, two storey residence designed and built in 1999. The house is 207 square metres, with the garage, north facing deck and eastern verandah adding a further 79 square metres.
39 Finniss Crescent, Narrabundah. Designed and built in 1999.
The house uses Strine’s Millenium system of construction, adapted to suit this particular site. The highly insulated sandwich constructed tilt concrete walls offer thermal mass, acoustic privacy, low maintenance, allergy free fitout as well as resistance to insect pests, condensation and mould.
The house is sited to achieve maximum orientation and glazing to the north. The living, dining, kitchen and bedrooms all face northern sun, private backyard and views to the mountains in the distance. Sliding glass doors open to the southern courtyard, eastern patio and northern deck to ensure outdoor living all year round.
Like the house at 5 Attwood Close, Gordon, the forms, materials and colours used inside and outside the house echo forms and shapes found in nature. The curved roof and ceilings, use of corrugated iron and rich, earthy colours demonstrate an affinity with the environment.