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Donaldson House is Surrounded by Trees and has Views of the Water and is Designed for an easy and Sustainable Lifestyle

By • Oct 25, 2017

This weekend residence of architect Glenn Murcutt is armored in blackened zinc panels to defend it from forest fires. The building, which has two levels, is surrounded by oak and ash forests which not only provide privacy but at the same time provide shade.

Views of the house nestled in the thick forest

The house was initially thought of as a vacation home for a couple and their three children, but would eventually become their home, settling there for a long period of time. While the exterior is covered in stained black lining, the interior features a white paint palette, pine ceilings and concrete floors.

Blackened zinc was selected in part because it was located in an area of high forest fire risk. To comply with strict regulations, the house is on reinforced concrete foundations, and its plywood walls are covered by metal skin. The windows are made of glass covered with reinforced mesh and fixed in frames of steel and anodized aluminum to protect against embers.

Interior with concrete floors and wooden ceilings
Views from the main room

Murcutt is known for its special attention to weather conditions and landscape sensitivity, and the design of Donaldson House responds directly to the demands of the site with a number of sustainability features. Electric blinds are installed instead of air conditioning to help keep the house in the shade of the sun’s heat, while hot water is generated by solar energy. Water storage tanks are located under the main suite to serve the bathrooms and laundry, and in case of fire can be used to put out flames.

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