Draped in the scent of eucalyptus, the Blue Mountains is an area of great beauty and extremes of temperature. When a Queensland couple decided to build their dream home on a large bushland block in Blackheath, they wanted to bring the open, breezy Queensland-style they loved with them. The challenge, however, was to adapt their preferred design to a completely different climate that swings wildly from sweltering summer to frosty winter.

The brief was for a solar-passive, energy-efficient home with versatile spaces, and easy access to the outdoors. The client was also driven by a desire to create a strong connection to the surrounding bush landscape while providing protection from the elements.

The extensive use of glass throughout Shipley House required expert advice, and the team at Taberner Glass was brought in to handle the task. The high levels of insulation and exceptional thermal protection offered by the AWS Thermal topamax Heart range made it the obvious choice. In addition, the clean lines and solid frames, combined with the need for fewer mullions and transoms, beautifully complement the overall design and provide uninterrupted views across the glorious landscape. The range also plays an essential role in the successful creation of an energy-efficient dwelling that utilises the benefits of passive solar gain in the freezing winter.

The windows and sliding doors seal exceptionally well – an essential defence against the area’s strong winds and cold draughts. The easy-to-clean casement windows also allow for welcome ventilation during warmer weather.

As the Blue Mountains is prone to the threat of bushfire, certification standards demand that windows be rated BAL 40 up to 400mm above ground level. All of the AWS systems chosen meet the region’s stringent bushfire certification standards, meaning the architect was able to incorporate dramatic areas of floor-to-ceiling glazing into the design.

The end result is a home that sits at perfect ease in a striking yet demanding landscape.

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