Charles Wright Architects unique “Stamp house” brings futuristic design to tackle today’s environmental concerns.
words by Jonathan Fincher
Thanks to its tropical climate, Far North Queensland Australia is a place where residents regularly have to deal with threats from extreme weather while being mindful of their impact on the environment. Charles Wright Architects have addressed both concerns simultaneously with the “Stamp House” a self-sustaining home that’s sturdy enough to withstand a Category 5 cyclone.
CWA built the house for a client with the goal of creating a carbon neutral structure that made good use of the surrounding wetland. The designers worked with local environmental groups, like the Department of Environment and Resource Management and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, to ensure the project’s water system did not interfere with the natural ecosystem.
Constructed on a small patch of land in the middle of a pond, much of the Stamp House is comprised of a mixture of new and used concrete, which provides insulation to keep the temperature more constant throughout the year. The blueprints show two floors with seven bedrooms protruding from a larger living space that includes a kitchen/dining area, an open gym area, a few lounges, and several reflective ponds around a central pool.
Power is provided by solar panels that almost completely cover the roof and are backed up by a solar-powered generator, eliminating the need for any fossil fuels. Visitors reach the house on a raised walkway that stretches over the pond waters to dry land.
The Stamp House’s main eco-friendly feature, is it’s expansive water system, capable of harvesting up to 250,000 litres of water for home use and irrigation. Water used by occupants is recycled right back into the system and the site even has its own tertiary sewage treatment plant. All of the required mechanical and hydraulic facilities are cooled by a self-contained thermal storage tank system and are controlled with a C-Bus home automation protocol.
Aside from blending the design with the location’s natural resources, the Stamp House is also engineered to protect against cyclones and flooding dangers. Huge cantilevers prevent water from seeping in and CWA claims the entire structure can is actually classified as a cyclone shelter.
The resulting unique structure is an excellent example of sustainable housing tailored to the environment around it.