In Australia, an architect designed a house to withstand wildfires

Maison australienne feux Simon Anderson
At the heart of the Blue Mountains, a one-hour drive from Sydney (Australia) is a World Heritage Site, with countless eucalyptus trees, sandstone cliffs and large waterfalls filling the sky. In the middle of this natural paradise, on three hectares of land, architect Simon Anderson has established his second home. This area is like a wildfire, sometimes violent, 2019-2020 big fire, which destroyed a large part of the east coast of the country. “Wildfires have been on the rise in Australia for the past two decades, with fire safety standards for buildings located in high-risk areas. We have always known that building a house on the Blue Mountain is dangerous. The benefits of living in the woods outweigh the risks associated with wildfires if the buildings are constructed in accordance with wildfire design rules.“, Says bodybuilder Simon Anderson.

Firefighting installations

The house has a concrete slab and structure, and is covered with a fire-resistant magnesium oxide panel. There is also a small amount of fuel in the surrounding woods. In fact, “The terrain near the house is minimal. The windows have a very high level of resistance to radiant heat“Shutters have been installed to further reduce the heat and protect the windows from volcanic eruptions and potential debris, and a heat recovery system filters smoke from wildfires,” he said.

Photos of the shutter closing system protecting the house from fires. Ick Nick Powers

For all these protections, the property includes rainwater tanks with a capacity of 30,000 liters. Finally, in the event of a power outage and a breakdown in the cell phone network, the family is armed with satellite coverage to continue receiving information about the fire. The family can remotely close some firewalls using this system.

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Architect and volunteer firefighter, double cap

The house must be able to withstand the most terrible fire storms“¸ He adds that to protect his family from being trapped inside, Australia has the highest protection of the wildfire protection label and the windows that can withstand about thirty minutes of direct attack on its structure can certainly be damaged but during the wildfires of 2019-2020 the system of four wildfire villas Not at all.

Australian Home Lighting Simon Anderson
The house has already borne four wildfires. Ick Nick Powers

My wife and I were recruited as volunteer firefighters in the local regiment. In the event of a fire, we will protect the surrounding houses, while ours will protect itself. This is often a possible scenario. Of course, your home is always a safe place before a fire breaks out. But if we were there, we would lock the house and wait inside until the fire goes out in front of the house, then go outside and put out the fire around the property.“If the road to their home is blocked, the family has created a series of routes.

Relatively high costs

This is the first time the architect has worked to design a villa capable of withstanding such extreme fire conditions. “Before offering this type of home to our clients, I need to know how to design this type of construction against fire and test it in my own home. Today we work in many homes based on knowledge.

New homeowners have more options because of the design rules, technology and equipment available. If this type of construction is expensive [celle de Simon Anderson s’élève à 750.000 dollars australiens, soit environ 462.000 euros], Australians are imagining different ways to use these firefighting measures. Perforated sliding windows on the west faade protect the home from fire, but can also be used as sun shade in the summer. As for the roof of the porch, “When folded, it acts as a fire shutter for nearby windows“.

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Australian Home Lighting Simon Anderson
Interior view of the house of Australian architect Simon Anderson. Ick Nick Powers

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About the Author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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