The Light House – prefab paradise

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The brief for this project was to create a long desired holiday house for a growing family of five and their dog.

Located near a small coastal inlet on a flat, sandy site, the project offers a pared back, family centric escape from city life. Comprising two bedrooms, one bathroom, open plan living, kitchen and dining area, all aspects of the house have been planned around family interactions and the coastal environment.

Designed around a compact footprint, a linear kitchen allows for the inclusion of a large size dining table to accommodate an extended group of family and friends. Decks to the north and south provide for covered indoor/outdoor connections and effectively double the living area of the house.

An outdoor shower and secondary entrance provide an opportunity to wash off from the beach before heading inside. A bunk room complete with custom designed trundle beds creates accommodation for six and the adjacent spill out space gives kids a room of their own to camp, play and explore.

The project was factory constructed, allowing for frequent visits by the owners prior to transportation to site.

Architect/Designer: ARKit Pty Ltd

Engineer: Structural Edge

Builder: ARKit Pty Ltd

Fabricator: ARKit Pty Ltd

Timber enabled the building to be prefabricated delivering higher construction tolerances that reduce waste and reducing site impacts of noise and light pollution. The timber subfloor structure and screw pile foundation system minimise the disturbance of existing vegetation and top soil, sediment laden run off and the use of portland cement and coastal sand. The timber framed construction system is designed for disassembly to facilitate end of life recycling and/or adaptive re-use. The inclusion of ARKit’s vented timber cavity wall system increases thermal insulation performance by reducing thermal bridging. Offsite construction enabled the building to be tested and calibrated prior to site installation.

The vented cavity wall construction was developed to utilise Western Red Cedar offcuts, or shorts, as a byproduct from the milling process. The wall panels act as an integrated cladding and structural system. The reason for using a timber cladding system is for its sustainability and aesthetic benefits. Western Red Cedar has been specified as is it is stable and straight, very durable, termite resistant and has good thermal insulation and sound control properties. Our projects are hand crafted and focus on the aesthetics of timber and maximizing the use of natural materials, timber cladding delivers these requirements.

Crafted from a suite of robust, environmentally friendly materials the house is externally clad in western red cedar and blackbutt, with WRC windows and doors, hoop pine joinery, spotted gum engineered timber flooring, low/no VOC finishes, blackbutt decks and pine pergola. Siting considerations included minimising impacts to the existing vegetation and maximising privacy. The project scope included revegetation of the site with indigenous plant species.

The project features a building envelope that has been critically analysed to achieve the optimal thermal performance, optimisation of passive design principles, vented wall cavity to reduce thermal bridging and improved thermal performance. Design for the maximum use and infiltration of natural light, thermally broken window frames and double glazing for superior thermal performance, air tight interfaces between envelope elements to reduce infiltration losses and enable air-tight environments. Specific materials and environmental features included on the project are: pergola and planters for passive solar control, rainwater tanks, water saving appliances and fixtures, vented cavity wall construction, high performance air tightness wall and roof membranes, low wattage heating panels, ceiling fans, LED lighting, FSC and PEFC certified timber and low VOC finishes. The project achieved a 6 star NAThers rating and is compatible to future upgrades for off grid energy and water systems.

The Light House is a pared back home with timber inherent within every building element. Designed to maximise the use of timber, both inside and out, the project features hoop pine joinery, western red cedar windows, spotted gum flooring and hardwood trims and feature elements. The building includes a timber vented cavity wall system delivering high thermal performance and cladding to blend seamlessly into its coastal environment.

The quiet use of timber is the integral element to Light House’s aesthetic, prefabricated construction, environmental performance and suitability within its setting.

Timbers used in this case study:



Cyprus Pine

External Cladding: 




Bearer and Joist (Oriented Strand Board); LVLs (Radiata Pine); Structural Flooring (Oriented Strand Board)

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