Grand designs Australia: hidden earth home blended into the landscape ‘like a doona’


A new hidden earth house blended into the landscape ‘like a doona’ has major promises to remaining to most aesthetically pleasing rest room in the region.

If you ended up to get there at Goobragandra at the foot of the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales, you’d be greeted by rolling hills as far as the eye can see and a perennial stream that is untouched by time.

In the lush organic surrounds a couple of hrs out of Canberra, there is minor to propose the city is inhabited, so when Trevor and Jeanette Robinson acquired a plot of land fronting the river, they supposed to maintain it that way.

In its place of building a easily big household on the maximum issue, they opted for an earth home that blended into the landscape on the most affordable issue.

“Why be ostentatious and have this big block?” asks Trevor, referring to a modern monolith that would search atypical in the country town.

Apart from mixing into the landscape, the other requisite for the property was ground-to-ceiling glass doors that acquire in the check out from all facets of the main living spots and bedrooms and “most importantly”, the lavatory which has an expansive vista of the mountainside.

Trevor, who was paralysed when strike by a automobile on his motorcycle some years in the past, has not permit the incident be his undoing. Alternatively, fuelled by his innate want to live a fully-billed lifestyle (he loves nothing extra than traveling his ultralight aircraft more than the Snowy Mountains), he also job managed the create.

Foxtel’s Grand Models followed the development of Trevor and Jeanette’s underground dwelling on the 15-acre block, which overlooked their 1.5 kilometre river frontage.


With a limited funds of $600,000 and an optimistic time frame of 10 months, the develop was much from clean sailing.

“If we were being developing a regular residence listed here, it wouldn’t be as amazing,” suggests Jeanette. Rather, developing an earth home essential 500 tonnes of soil to be eradicated, ahead of hydronics could be laid underneath a concrete slab. It is approximated a substantial $300,000 of the price range was used to deal with the invoices for steel, concrete and hydronics on your own. And in contrast to regular new home builds above ground, waterproofing is one particular of the most crucial, and expensive positions on the construct site.

Constructing an earth residence, which is fundamentally an underground shelter with earth against the walls, is a difficult engineering feat states renowned architect and Grand Types host, Peter Maddison, but the advantages are countless.

“Trevor and Jeanette’s dwelling is up on the snow belt and a lengthy way from just about anything. Trevor is an complete go-er and he wished a different adventure in his lifetime – he did not just want to sit in his house in Canberra with the heat turned up,” suggests Peter. “This home is suited to severe temperatures mainly because it is underground and mom nature’s earth is continuous. It is in fact like a doona. It will never ever get to zero levels or 40 degrees.”

The small-impression setting up sits on the side of a hill and an inordinate total of concrete has long gone into the constructing so it doesn’t slip down the knoll. The household is then topped off with 100 tonnes of soil and grassed about so it’s unattainable to capture sight of driving into the tackle.

It is certainly not the best way to make, and including to the make a difference, Trevor experienced been hospitalised mid-create with an urgent clinical difficulty that demanded back medical procedures.

In hindsight, Peter says “it would have been a tough undertaking to undertake for an capable bodied person”.

Off-grid, wheelchair available and sympathetic to its ecosystem are all successful tickets, but ultimately the new residence was intended to give Trevor back again his independence.

“When Trevor wants to lie down, as he has to expend several hrs a day in that posture, he now has a room with a view.

“His aim was to have a loo with a see and he can check out the river flowing from the bathroom.”

There are more large doorways during and the kitchen benches have a top clearance that lets Trevor to get in there with his wheelchair and cook dinner.

“This whole property design is about supporting Trevor and building confident he is Alright. Jeanette is his rock and not demanding at all and I can not feel of a design and style aesthetic that is hers – she’s defined herself in how she can assistance him,” suggests Peter.

“This is not an architectural manifesto, it is a attractive and pragmatically crafted house and it’s all about humanity.

It is subtle in style and the facade moves with the contours of the land, it’s not about flexing muscle and expressing ‘here I am’. It is demure and will stand the take a look at of time. And which is commendable.”


The earth shelter in Antiparos in Greece is properly positioned in a organic groove where two slopes meet up with. Two prolonged stone walls bridge the hills with the residence nestled in the house.

This hobbit property in Slovenia is just as magical as a Middle Earth abode. Found in an historic settlement that dates again more than 5000 yrs.

In Keldur in Iceland you will uncover the oldest nevertheless-standing turf properties. In the 12th century Keldur was property to the Oddi clan. The most effective clan of the location.

Estate Lättenstrasse is a residential region composed of nine earth households in Switzerland. The properties are grouped centred all-around a small artificial lake with a concealed entrance.

Grand Types Australia is now streaming on Foxtel.

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