Architects: Intermode Pty. Ltd
Location: Kilmore, Victoria, Australia
Project Collaborators: Carr Design Group VCON
Area: 850.0 sqm
Project Year: 2008
Photographs: Derek Swalwell, Courtesy of Intermode
From the architect. Kilmore Residence is one of the first completed modular housing projects by Intermode. The modular house system was conceived to create a simple modern housing solution that, through innovative design and modular building methods, delivers affordable, contemporary design to a greater majority of people. The design, based on a 1,200mm module, encompasses standard building dimensions, proprietary systems and prefabrication to reduce the typical costs of an architecturally designed house, while maintaining the simple clean lines and open spaces conducive to modernist living.
The site at Kilmore, 60km north of Melbourne, is approximately 500 acres and used for cattle farming. The site for the house is amongst paddocks and was chosen for its backdrop of existing burnt trees (destroyed during the Ash Wednesday bushfires) to the south, and extensive views of the property’s dam to the north-west. The modular design is based on the concept of a spine wall, a 1,200mm module along one side of the building that includes all service and storage areas, therefore enabling flexibility with operable glazing to all other elevations.
The design brief for the Kilmore Residence was based on three key zones: 1.a living and dining area with central guest bedrooms 2.a master suite with study 3.a separate children’s area with second living and bedrooms
The house was designed as a series of pavilions, some connected by glazed links and others freestanding, connected to the main house via extensive decking. The pavilions are darkly clad to sit boldly against the stark surrounding landscaping. Exploring the notion of the pavilions as stand-alone objects, the house forgoes the typical notion of ‘front and rear’. Instead the pavilions are used to define areas according to the seasons. Dark, intimate spaces protected from the elements are inhabited during the cooler months and decks and walkways are used for entertaining during the warmer months and have a strong connection to the outdoors and cool breezes.
The 1,200mm modular system is applied across all building elements, from framing and truss design, through to cladding selections, glazing systems, joinery design and lighting layouts. Not only does this provide a cost effective solution with the incorporation of proprietary systems and ‘off-the-shelf’ items, but labour is significantly reduced, minimising the construction program. Subcontractors time on-site was reduced and little on site labour required as items arrived on site ready for installation. There was very minimal on-site waste. The modular house design offers significant environmental benefits, with passive design principles inherent in the systemised yet adaptable design. Combined with the use of renewable timber resources, extensive water storage, high performance wall, roof and glazing systems, the Kilmore Residence has exceeded the environmental expectations of modular design.