After the Brisbane River floods in 2011, this ex-1990’s cottage located in Chelmer, Brisbane, Australia, suffered major transformations. The River Room project, as the architects from Shaun Lockyer Architects decided to call it, needed a fresh new look. The primary requests were to establish a better connection to the river and make the house a little more spacious (and bright) than before. “This design was about maximising the connection with the river to create a open and light indoor / outdoor living experience.” The new built area captures stunning views over the river, while the rear of the house, completely renewed, allows now, the pale sunlight to sneak inside the house, during the cold winter days.
The interior is neat, airy and “wrapped” in timber. Floor-to-ceiling windows replaced one of regular walls, creating a more transparent and bright environment. Out of the sudden, the living room became brighter and warm, favouring social interaction. The clients have to adapt now to a new type of experience, in a more climatically responsive space. To increase the thermal mass, additional insulation has been installed in the ceiling, walls and floor.
Value for money is not, and never was, the same as being cheap. Value for money means making the most of whatever budget is available. A good example of this is Hayes Primary School in London, by Hayhurst and Co. Having to contend with a tightly controlled 3 million local authority budget, they worked with the existing structure of the primary school to give it a much needed update. A striking polished stainless steel brise-soleil facade installed at the school’s entrance, gives the school’s many different buildings a sense of identity, while new classrooms have been created in a range of shapes and sizes, and are often flooded with natural light
Energy during the construction process was saved by using FSC-certified glulam timber instead of steel to create the building’s distinctive wavy roof, while the store’s external walls use hemclad, a highly innovative insulator made from hemp, which, like all plants, absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows. An 80,000 litre water tank below ground provides water for the store’s toilets and waters the site’s green wall’, which provides natural insulation, acts as an all-natural pollution filter near the car park, and helps to encourage biodiversity. The result is a building that uses a fraction of the energy of structures of a similar size, and is still very popular with local shoppers.