With the ever-increasing trend of sustainability and ecological awareness in design, it’s no surprise that more and more homes in Canada, and in Ontario specifically, are utilizing fantastic new technology in construction, and energy consumption; and what a fantastic trend it is.
Conceived by Stone’s Throw Design Inc, and in combination with the building technology of Aerecura Rammed Earth Builders, the Castleton residence is truly a gem of the fusion of modern sustainable technology and a strong sense of spatial design.
The design itself is very charming. It is mostly a hybrid between traditional materials like stone and wood, and their composition in a somewhat minimalistic, yet rich configuration of forms and spaces.
The bathroom is a unique selection and arrangement of lovely blue ceramic tiles for the flooring, as well as the walls.
Most of the interior is clad in a beautifully yellowish-brown knotty pine, which is counter-balanced by the colder, textured earth walls.
One of the great advantages of a rammed-earth wall system is that the insulation can be placed entirely on the exterior, allowing for a lot more freedom to utilize the structural components of the building. For instance, a mezzanine hangs off one of the main load-bearing walls and uses its internal space as shelving for an extensive library, cozily placed under a slanted, wooden roof.
As much artistry as the dwelling displays, the driving concept of the home is efficiency.
Annually, the home uses approximately 20kW/h/m2 – this is around the same consumption as twenty tea candles. The reason for such incredible efficiency is effective insulation, including the earth-rammed walls. Compacting natural materials makes for an excellent insulator due to their tremendous thermal mass, making the Castleton residence a passive home. It’s also the very first rammed-earth construction in Ontario!
Stone Throw Design’s Terrell Wong has deliberately designed and positioned the home in a way that takes advantage of the strong sunlight from the East while insulating it from the surrounding sides with thick slabs of rammed earth.
Another sustainable feature is the use of solar energy for power, making for an extremely effective combination of renewable power sources for heating and cooling, alongside an excellent thermal mass to contain it. The result of this formula is a self-sufficient home that uses almost no mechanical equipment to regulate its temperature.
Aerecura Rammed Earth Builders and Stone’s Throw Design have shown us the way of the future. Let’s hope this trend becomes more than just a trend!
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Photography courtesy of Riley Snelling Photography
Researched and Written by Mikhail Shchupak-Katsman, Undergraduate Environmental Design, OCAD University.