Featured Project: Gaia House

The Gaia House Project is a uniquely designed and built luxury home that’s whole ethos is centred on a sustainable vision for the future of urban habitats. From a rubber-reinforced turf driveway to native plant selections, Conlon Birrell Landscape Architects approached sustainability from many perspectives on this ‘recycled’ block of land.

From the project description:

The site is a ‘recycled’ block of land (not a greenfield site) in an older, well established residential area with good neighborhood infrastructure and features a mature Poinciana tree to the Street frontage, affording shade from the western sun in the afternoon.

Conlon Birrell Landscape Architects, a local firm, approached sustainability from many perspectives. For too long we have been allowing the rain to fall on our roofs, gush down our down-pipes, across our driveways and down our council stormwater systems and into the ocean. A reinforced turf driveway allows water infiltration into natural ground to retain water on site and stop run off into council’s storm water system. One hundred percent recycled polypropylene soil module and one hundred percent recycled crumbed rubber top dressing was used to reinforce the permeable turf driveway. The rubber top dressing reinforces the turf from vehicle movements and allows for better water retention by lowering the evaporation rate. Fifty percent of the turfs water usage is absorbed and slowly released by water crystals that were installed deep in to the soil to also encourage root growth. The turf grower (Turf Force) also uses sustainable technologies including the use of on-site water and re-use of organic waste from their turf farm.

The planting palette consists of native, rare, edible, endangered, endemic, drought tolerant plants that require low maintenance and were all locally grown. Internal planting of rare native plants that thrive in the houses’ internal microclimate were also sourced from a local grower. Over fifty square meters of locally grown exotic air plants were installed with innovative design techniques to produce vertical and horizontal elements in the air and on timbers screens. An expected ninety-nine percent survival rate of plants with the use of techniques that require minimal maintenance, structure and growing medium help to make the green walls economic and sustainable.

Read full project description here.

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