Unlike other parts of Australia, the South West coast of Victoria does not get very hot – summer maximum averages are around 23º (73ºF) while winter minimum averages are around 6º (42ºF). Architecture firm Jackson Clements Burrows have designed a small holiday cabin along the coast here as an experiment in small living as well as a way to test the best architecture to suit the climate.
Called Moonlight Cabin, the structure has a small footprint at only 60sqm (645sqft), an intentional choice to challenge what size is necessary for a holiday house. Inside, the cabin is one large space, with the kitchen, bathroom and utilities clustered in a central “pod”.
The benefits of the small space can be seen in the low running costs of the cabin, which is designed to be environmentally passive. This is achieved with the aid of a responsive architectural skin made of timber in Spotted Gum. The architects compare this to a “gore-tex jacket” – operable shutters can transform the skin into a rain screen, or can be opened to allow cross ocean breezes. They can also completely secure the house when the family is away for extended periods of time.
Moonlight Cabin is grid connected and rainwater is sustainably harvested. Melbourne-based architects JCB (Tim Jackson, Jon Clements and Graham Burrows) used this building as a way of understanding the site and conditions, with plans to build a larger house in future.
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