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An Ultra-Sustainable Home On An ‘Undevelopable’ Melbourne Site

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It takes someone with exceptional vision to buy a compact triangular site wedged between a train line and laneway, and turn it into an inspiring home of the future.

This is the origin story of Hütt — a Melbourne design practice founded in 2016 with a vision to design ultra-sustainable passive homes that create more energy than they use. 

The practice’s first project, Hütt 01 Passive House, is the family home of CEO and director Felicity Bernstein, and the first of hopefully many Hütt houses to come.  

The project started with the intent to regenerate a forgotten piece of land in a dense Coburg pocket. Felicity and her husband, architect Marc Bernstein, purchased the awkardly shaped 250 square metre block to make it happen, but council deemed the land ‘undevelopable’, and banks were unwilling to approve finances. 

These roadblocks were eventually overcome, then COVID-19 hit, placing added stress on Felicity and Marc, who were now living in a motorhome with three children undertaking remote schooling!

The family persisted, designing an inspiring contemporary home, with timeless, nordic-inspired touches. The two and half level home contains four-bedrooms, two living spaces, three bathrooms, and a roof garden on a mere 78 square metre footprint. 

Materials were chosen for their sustainable properties, to create the most efficient and comfortable home possible. Cross laminated timber (CLT)  forms both the structure of the home and exposed lining of many interior surfaces; whilst natural wood fibre insulation provides great hydrothermal properties; durable aluminium clads the facade; and recycled bricks feature in the surrounding landscaping. 

Hütt 01 Passive House is certified ‘Passive House Premium’ for its thermal comfort facilitated through insulation, airtightness, appropriate window and door design, ventilation systems with heat recovery, and the elimination of thermal bridges. On top of this impressive thermal performance, the property contains seven water tanks, a 11.4 kW solar system, battery, heat pump hot water production, and an aquaponics setup.

‘We have managed to demonstrate that a super sustainable approach does not have to exclude lifestyle, luxury and welcoming contemporary architecture. If designed well, all these things can go together — this is the future of housing that we need to look for,’ says Felicity. 

It took three and a half years to finish Hütt 01 Passive House (inclusive of a freak accident that saw a fire on site, requiring many elements to be rebuilt — all of which was documented on an episode of Grand Designs Australia), but future projects will benefit from Felicity and Marc’s lived experience and expertise. 

Hütt will soon launch its first two series of homes available to be constructed by registered builders. Each series will contain a variety of preconceived designs to suit different occupants, sites, and price points. 

‘Hütt homes are a bit like the Tesla… with Series I being the top level that offers the best of everything and Series IV down the track a more affordable home for a much wider market,’ explains Felicity.

‘The idea is that if you purchase a Hütt home, you know what you will be getting, and you know you will be able to rely on the quality, while contributing to the betterment of the planet.’ 

Register your interest in a Hütt home on their website



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