Sustainable Eco House

This project intention is to analyze the performance of Esherick House and maximize its ability to be a sustainable house in Melbourne’s climate through the design proposal as it moved from Philadelphia, USA to Melbourne, Australia.

Sustainability in Passive Solar Design contributed along to create a healthy and comfortable design. By examining the existing condition of Esherick House built by Louis Kahn in Philadelphia, the proposal is to maximize its ability to a more liveable house in Melbourne’s climate. The idea is to keep Kahn’s geometrical principle facades, a double-height living room with balcony and symmetrical chimneys by re-arranging the rooms and multifaceted windows towards the sun.

Design Intention of Esherick House
1. The T-shaped windows allow sunlight to penetrate the house but avoid direct glance from the outside.
2. The timber shutters in front of each window control the amount of sunlight in the summer.
3. Placement of windows on the facades provide cross-ventilation inside the house.
4. Indentation of the wall with windows allow the house to protect from the rain to enter the house even when the windows are open.

Kahn combined visually
compelling spaces with
drama as the changing light
transformed the sensory
experience of being in
the building at different times
of the day and night

Sunlight entering from the North windows falls onto the element of the building where it casts natural lights. Kahn’s quest is to bring back the order of old-fashioned construction using heavy concrete evocative material rather than lightweight steel construction.

Axonometric of the House
New Site Plan, Melbourne.

Due to the alteration of the house, the hardwood timber floor absorbs the maximum amount of morning sunlight during the day time and warms up the house when the temperature drops.

Thermal Performance Diagram

Melbourne summer wind pattern flows from the North to the South and vice versa. Subsequently, a re-development of the plans are necessary to get maximum natural ventilation openings which correspond to the direction of the wind and provide air circulation inside the house during summer.

Air Ventilation Diagram

The diagrams below show the direct gain of the heating and cooling cycle in the house. The sustainable house creates its own heating system due to the ability of concrete material which is able to reserve the heat during daytime and cooling system which depends on the window openings and the direction of the wind.

Direct Gain – Heating and Cooling Cycle
(double heights living room)

Direct Gain – Heating and Cooling Cycle
(ground and first floor)

Due to the alteration of the house, the diagrams below show the effect of the summer and winter heat reflected by the sun through the window openings of the house. It varies from dark blue to yellow, the higher the percentage is, the more heat a specific area gets.

Summer Heat Diagram