Sol House

Country · Wangal

Project Completion · 2019

Builder · Daran Building

Engineer · TGA and Partridge

Photography · Nick Bowers

Client brief

The clients sought a contemporary transformation of their home and the minimisation of operational energy. The result is a modest, contemporary rear addition and the retention of most of the original dwelling.


Sol House is a celebration of Australian heritage and contemporary architecture all in one. It is the product of an unwavering commitment to sustainability, enabling the liveability of the existing Interwar Californian Bungalow dwelling to skyrocket due to the clever design interventions incorporated particularly in the rear addition. While the original street frontage is retained, the interior layout is reconfigured to enable a more efficient and logical use of space, helping to further the home’s thermal performance and comfort along with the premium new addition. The outcome is a site-responsive, high quality family home, offering a contemporary urban oasis surrounded by lush greenery. Sol House sets a prime example of what the contemporary suburban Australian home could look and feel like; housing of heritage significance sensitively transformed to pay homage to its history while exceeding sustainable practice norms in order to accommodate the contemporary needs of our people and planet.

Set behind the main body of the existing house, the new addition is linked through a 'bridging' element between the Interwar Californian Bungalow and the new living, dining and kitchen volume. This ‘bridging’ element delineates the new from the old, while preserving the original tiled roof and roof form of the existing dwelling, and ensures the addition has adequate access to sunlight. This siting and configuration maintains the existing house as visually dominant from the streetscape, while thermal considerations resulted in the addition departing from the alignment of the original Bungalow, instead oriented towards due north.

Sol House incorporates both traditional and contemporary technological sustainability principles, including cross ventilation, thermal mass, sunlight access and control, and the use of sustainable and thermally efficient building materials.

Key Features

  • Constructed using pre-fabricated wall systems from Habitech. This significantly reduced on site construction time and provided a highly insulated, low cost building form.
  • Operable high level windows allow hot air to be purged from the living space in summer
  • The windows within the existing house were replaced for higher insulating glazing.
  • Using EToolglobal the global warming potential measured 43 t/CO2, this is significantly lower than the average Australian dwelling which measures 199 t/CO2
  • Zero VOC paint finishes throughout including in the plywood kitchen joinery which was finishes with a zero VOC sealer
  • Boral Envisia low carbon concrete was used for the concrete slab.
  • A Stiebel Eltron heat recovery unit reduces the need for air conditoning, offering a low energy heat and cooling strategy
  • Shortlisted – 2021 Houses Awards – Sustainability Category

"The renovation, notionally to create an extra bedroom and a larger living area without increasing built floor space or going up (so we can age in place), has allowed us to reorient the dwelling, opening the southern back of the house up to the north, giving us a light filled space that feels connected to the sky and garden. The expanded kitchen and pantry afford our focus on cooking and eating together, and the open plan addition with an office and projection wall at the other end suits how our family relaxes together."

Client Perspective