The nature shack

Issue 28 Words: Jacinta Cleary Photography: Peter Hoare
Kangaroo Island, South Australia
  • The house is designed to “intensify the relationship with the Australian bush,” and the wildlife too, it seems.
  • The lightweight prefabricated home was built offsite and delivered to its beautiful coastal setting via road and sea.
  • The raking ceiling adds more volume and light to the intentionally compact space, designed to include just the bare necessities for a bush holiday.

This modular holiday house proves smaller is better when out in the bush.

You don’t need much on a bush holiday. A view and a place to rest your head is often comfort enough when seeking a nature escape.

With this in mind Adelaide’s C4 Architects have designed a modular and transportable house that measures just 90 square metres. The prototype SuperShak sits behind sand dunes at Vivonne Bay, a remote windswept settlement on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island.

For architect Brent Dowsett sustainable design is about opening the house to nature. “Sustainability should mean more than just water and power usage, it’s primarily about enjoying the place that we live,” he says. “We wanted a house designed to intensify the relationship with the Australian bush.” The raking ceiling opens up a view to the sky via clerestory windows, while at eye-level the toughened-glass windows look out to a unique native coastal scrub environment.

While the broad, angled roof gives the house its sky views and winter sun access, its slant also provides some protection from bushfires. It sits low on the northwest, the likely direction of a bushfire, with a large screen offering further protection on that side. The roof is extended for better rainwater catchment, with 20,000 litres of the 60,000 litre capacity set aside for firefighting.

This house is designed to a fairly high Bushfire Attack Level, BAL 29*, but the kit of building materials can also meet the higher BAL 40 and BAL FZ ratings. The fibre cement sheet floor looks like concrete and suits the wear and tear of a holiday house, but is also one of the more flameproof building materials around.

* BALs range from BAL-Low, where no additional building elements are required, through to BAL-12.5 to BAL-40. [Ed note: For more on building in bushfire zones, see Sanctuary 25].

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Cover of Issue 28
You can read more about The nature shack in Issue 28 of Sanctuary magazine.

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C4 Architects

Brent Dowsett Builder and Marchiori Constructions

Project type:
New build

Project location
Kangaroo Island, SA

$230,000 (inc. professional fees)

House 90sqm
Land 700sqm

Equivalent 7 star rating

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