Aquas Perma Solar Firma is a home tailored to the needs of a modern, environmentally conscious and socially responsible couple. Our most sustainable project to date, it includes an aquaponics system for fish harvesting, rainwater storage for use throughout the home, a wicking bed to filter water, compost, a worm farm and chicken coop working in harmony with a productive vegetable garden, an evacuated glass tube solar hot water system and a 3KW photovoltaic power generation system to run the home and charge the couple’s electric car. Combined, these elements have meant that the house surpassed the clients desire for a sustainable home and is virtually off grid for most the year.

Project Name: Aquas Perma Solar Firma
Studio Name:
CplusC Architectural Workshop
Location: Alexandria, Australia
Photography: Murray Fredericks

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Bedroom ©Murray Fredericks

CplusC were approached by the owners of an existing terrace house in an urban area of Sydney to help them realise their vision of a home that would be the embodiment of their commitment to the environment. The result is Aquas Perma Solar Firma, a beautiful, small footprint home which has reinvented the terrace typology and lifestyle. Vertical circulation is shifted to the front façade and a circular stair is formed by an array of glass and timber battens which doubles as an internal garden. The house combines innovative architectural design with off grid green initiatives.

A key objective of the design process was to find a way to ensure the design would contribute to the longevity of the building. To this end, a central courtyard provides all internal spaces with superior natural light and access to green spaces despite site restrictions, while planting beds are integrated into the home to improve internal air quality.

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Outdoor Seating ©Murray Fredericks

Seamless integration of green spaces within the home was paramount. Vertically hung sliding doors operated via a rack and pinion crankwheel paired with a custom concrete counterweight open the interior of the house to the courtyard and the kitchen has an unobstructed connection to the rear yard with sliding, stacking doors that disappear from view.

The brief also called for a versatile primary living space; it should be an entertaining space, a ‘work from home’ space and should be able to transform into a blank canvas at a moment’s notice. The result was a custom, adjustable table which provided the necessary flexibility to change the use of the rear space.

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Kitchen ©Murray Fredericks

The large bench overarches three smaller tables with adjustable height legs; in different configurations they form a place to sit, eat, stand, converse, work, mill and chat. Essential services are aligned along the party wall and the cabinetry finish subtly increases the ambient light, contrasting warmer brick and timber tones. A custom, folded steel shelf houses a collection of everyday objects and products the owner’s delight in.

The clients had lived in the same street for many years before deciding to commission Aquas Perma Solar Firma and since it’s completion, they’ve reported that they socialise regularly with several neighbours. Their home generates so much fresh produce that they share it with their neighbours, creating a neighbourhood co-op of sorts and indirectly they’ve developed greater relationships with their neighbours.


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