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Project Zero – Carbon Neutral House

Project Zero is the first single dwelling to receive EnviroDevelopment certification. Located in the innercity Brisbane suburb of Alderley, Project Zero shows the journey of a young family and a small construction business in their attempt to renovate a classic post-war house into a fully sustainable and functional home, and importantly, do their small part for the environment.

Project-Zero-By-BVN-Architecture-02-Christopher-Frederick-Jones-759x547 Project Zero / BVN Architecture

© Christopher Frederick Jones

This house was conceived as a sustainable solution for Brisbane’s housing market, with particular interest in the re-use capacity of existing post-war housing stock. It also leverages precedents where central outdoor spaces used to organise the composition of interior rooms, while providing climatic and experiential benefits.

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© Christopher Frederick Jones

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© Christopher Frederick Jones

“This alteration and addition reconfigures an existing postwar weatherboard dwelling to house the bedroom areas at the southern end of the site, with the living areas organized around a central courtyard. The courtyard, which is largely a green space, creates the feeling that you are living within a garden. In the joint between new and old sits an outside living area with a recycled brick floor. The space acts as a delightful covered retreat from the sun and rain, and reinforces the casual nature of the house.

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© Christopher Frederick Jones

The project employs many “zero impact” devices, such as solar-powered energy on the north-facing sections of roof, on-site water treatment, reclaimed building materials, and vegetable gardens with chooks and a worm farm. A battened screen serves to wrap around the garden and bind the different elements of the building together. The house has a village-like feel and maximizes the use of the site through pushing the building to the boundaries. The scale is low, but the views from the garden and spaces within are generous and inviting.” – Jury Citation / Australian Houses Awards

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© Christopher Frederick Jones

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© Christopher Frederick Jones

“Both a new home and a significant alteration to an original structure, this Brisbane house is commendable for its thoughtful commitment to sustainability principles within a suburban setting. The existing house, which was originally positioned in the centre of this double block, has been retained and shifted to the back of the property. The new extension is built adjacent to the old home, forming an L-shape configuration, providing protection from the western sun and also separating the sleeping and living quarters.

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© Nicolette Johnson

At the centre is a covered outdoor lounge and a grassed front yard, plus vegetable garden, chookhouse and composting. Sustainability goals are considered throughout and are at the heart of the project. The use of reclaimed building materials, on-site water treatment and solar energy initiatives, combined with warm and inviting spaces, makes Project Zero feel like a positive environment for a young family who can grow with their home.” – Jury Citation / AIA Australian National Architecture Awards: Sustainable Architecture

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© Nicolette Johnson

BVN Architecture:

Project Zero is a single residential dwelling located in suburban Brisbane. The design is the result of the clients desire to create a home with an environmentally sustainable agenda.

Project-Zero-By-BVN-Architecture-27-Nicolette-Johnson-803x1200 Project Zero / BVN Architecture

© Nicolette Johnson

The main elements of the project that contribute to the “zero” impact building are : the re-configuring and relocation of the existing house, on-site water treatment, solar panels, the use of reclaimed building materials, and a carefully thought out landscape design which includes a veggie garden, chook house, compost/worm farm and extensive native planting.

Project-Zero-By-BVN-Architecture-33-Christopher-Frederick-Jones-759x426 Project Zero / BVN Architecture

© Christopher Frederick Jones

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© Christopher Frederick Jones

The design of the house is such that it will minimise the occupants need to artificially heat or cool the building. The house opens up to catch breezes, high level windows draw air through the living spaces and provide natural light from the south. The extensive use of shade structures and screens provide privacy and also act as trellises for climbing plants to provide seasonal shading.

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© Christopher Frederick Jones

The project delivers a home with strong environmental incentives, with all the amenities expected in a contemporary home.

Project-Zero-By-BVN-Architecture-44-Christopher-Frederick-Jones-759x568 Project Zero / BVN Architecture

© Christopher Frederick Jones

Project Data:

Project name: Project Zero
Location: 40 Hall Street, Alderley, Queensland, Australia
Coordinates: -27.424440, 153.005446

  • Type By Characteristic: Green & Sustainable House, Renovation / Expansion / Extension : House
  • Type By Site: City / Town HouseLarge House – (more than 650 sqm)
  • Type By Size: Medium House – (201 sqm – 450 sqm)
  • Type By Materials: Brick House

Site area: 810 sqm
Project area: 237 sqm GFA
Project Year: November 2012 – February 2014
Status: Built
Cost: $750,000
Completion Year: 2015


  • 2016 – Australian Institute of Architects Awards – AIA Australian National Architecture Awards – Category: Sustainable Architecture – Commendation
  • 2016 – Australian Houses Awards – Category: House Alteration & Addition over 200m2 – Winner
  • 2015 – World Architecture Festival Award – Category: Houses Completed – Shortlist

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Leon and Emma Bowes
Architects: BVN Architecture – 12 Creek St, Brisbane City QLD 4000, Australia
Project Team:

  • Brian Donovan, Michael Hogg, Nick Flutter, John Shankey, Chi Tang, Rachel Wardrobe

Builder : Apollo Property Group

  • Structural engineer: Westera Partners
  • Environmental engineer: SEED


  • Hydraulic consultant: GWC Hydraulics
  • Landscape designer: Steven Clegg Design
  • Site surveyor: DTS Group Qld

Text Description: © Courtesy of BVN Architecture
Images: © BVN Architecture, Christopher Frederick Jones, Nicolette Johnson



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Project Zero / BVN Architecture
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