Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The courtyard water storage (with a permeable top) has been covered by silt dug from footings to the retaining wall. The green lid in the foreground conceals the primary water filtration for all of the downpipes draining into the underground storage which removes the need for unsightly first flush and leaf eater divertors.

Formwork has come off the suspended slab for the Dining (winter Living) Room and the light slot through to the cool Store /Media /Music Room below provides perfect natural light for these purposes.

The last section of floor framing to the main level is being fixed in place (recycled laminated hardwood) to the Kitchen area.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The light-coloured (and light-reflecting) concrete was poured last week for the Dining Room, Gallery, Study and Laundry. This pale colour comes at a financial cost so the lower part of the pour (footings) used grey Portland cement.

Both concrete mixes contained recycled elements to improve properties and reduce embodied energy.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Taking shape

Formwork for the thermally-massive living area floors is ready for a pour tomorrow, weather permitting. The ply underlay to the rear wing will provide a safe working platform during construction and provide added thermal and acoustic insulation on completion.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hardwood framing

Foreman Oliver Bergel on the job
Seasoned (40-60 years?) recycled hardwood framing is heavy work but will provide a rock-solid structure to the house and keep the carbon safely stored for another 100 years or more, we hope. Batten screws are the only fixings that can be used as the timber is so hard.

Courtyard water storage

26,000L of rainwater storage will sit beneath the central courtyard, collecting water from the rear roofs and through the soil. The excavated site is lined with plastic, filled with modular polypropylene units and covered with geofabric, then sand and soil. All three elements have 100% recycled content. The water will be used for garden irrigation and swimming pool top up. The installation of this water storage will be completed this afternoon and once covered, will be fully trafficable (though in reality, only foot traffic will pass over it when the building is complete).

There will still be another 46,000L of rainwater storage beneath the front driveway dedicated to household supply.

Monday, November 10, 2008


The recycled hardwood studs are beginning to stand up. The steep rake of the north-facing roof is angled to optimise solar energy collection.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bluestone wall and steel

Lower block walls are now core-filled with a cement mix incorporating flyash, reactive magnesium and by-product silica. Steel beams to the front are placed in position and will soon take the recycled laminated hardwood joists for the floor framing above.

The stone facade to the western boundary retaining wall is underway. Initially, we wanted a true (local) stone wall with no blockwork as this is a truer form of construction and uses low-embodied energy stone. However, the construction would have used more concrete (higher embodied energy) than a more compact core-filled block structure and taken much longer. Due to space restrictions, to the east boundary, the retaining wall will be built without the blockwork so it will be interesting to compare labour time and volumes of concrete on the one site.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Lofty, complete with mirror ball, got a workout this morning lifting the recycled laminated hardwood joists for denailing. Oliver is very excited to be pulling out nails again and Eoin denailing too and ensuring the nails are straight, for possible reuse.

Waterproofing membranes and drainage cells are installed to front entry area as well as physical termite barrier.
Photos by Miki and Emma

Monday, September 8, 2008

River terrace slab

After delays due to forecast storms, the rear lower slab was finally poured using the Magnesium Oxide. The additional aggregate for the final terrazzo-like finish made the mix a challenge to pump. In the end, human power prevailed. The slab has been sealed and won't be ground and polished until it is well protected by the floor above.

Blockwork walls to the front have been core-filled with magnesium oxide concrete mix. Blockwork walls to the lower level will begin today.

Once approval from our clients is given for the varied colours of bluestone, sourced from Yatala, the stone walls will start.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Blockwork to the front is almost complete and once the steel beams have been fabricated, the recycled hardwood framing can start above.

The carpet python has returned to the site much to the consternation of the local birds.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

First walls up

The building is starting to take shape as the blockwork goes up - Garage and Plant Room (greywater treatment, energy monitoring hub, water switching controls) and Entry.

Rather than fill in the cutting to the back, excavated for 25,000L of modular underground storage and temporary access to the rear, this space will become a Cellar and contain one of the greywater treatment tanks.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Super concrete? the waiting game

Blockwork is going up at the front of the house and the formwork and reinforcing to the rear is ready and waiting for the all-clear from our concrete suppliers to include the reactive magnesia additive. This extra ingredient, in use in NSW and Victoria, reduces the production of carbon dioxide in the cement manufacturing process and can reabsorb CO2 during the carbonation process, reducing the carbon footprint. Additionally the result is a harder, higher quality product.

Finer and doubled up reinforcement was necessary for the polished concrete floors - fortunately the steel is over 95% recycled content.