Wonga Street House


Location | O'Connor, ACT

Date completed | December 2013

EER | 8 stars

Area | 180m²

Builder | Jigsaw Housing

Images | Rod Vargas

Awards | 2015 Australian Institute of Architects ACT Chapter: New Home Award - Winner


From brief to block

Their brief from the outset was clear – a simple, beautiful and sustainable home with flexible spaces that could adapt as their family’s needs changed over time.

Consideration of and connection to the landscape was also essential: the house is planned around a large deciduous tree; the north facing dining area flows seamlessly to the back yard via a generous deck; and windows throughout the home are positioned to carefully frame views to the garden.

The external material palette is restrained but expressive: cedar-framed windows and doors and the yellow clad sound studio/study space offset the predominantly grey brick and black shadowclad façade.

Inside, the concrete floor provides thermal mass, and a striking fireplace, formed in concrete along one wall of the lounge room provides extra winter warmth.

At the 2015 ACT Architecture Awards, this project received an Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New), and was shortlisted in the Sustainable Architecture Category. 


Key features

3 bed, 3 living & 2 bath

766m² flat site with orientation of north to the side

Single carport

Concrete bench incorporating built-in wood fireplace in lounge room

Third living area can be used as a multi-purpose space of guest bedroom

Extensive customised joinery including robes, kitchen, study and hallway storage

Separate study/music room with added sound proofing and storage

Floor finishes include; concrete, tiles and carpet

Northern facing timber deck and entertainment area

Tailored to the site and designed to our client's brief and budget



EER | 8 stars

High levels of insulation in walls (R2.5) and ceilings (R5)

Burnished concrete flooring with R1 insulation to slab edge and underside

Thermal mass of slab used to regulate internal temperatures

Vapour permeable building wrap to control moisture and reduce air movement past insulation

Testing to ensure building envelope integrity: thermographic inspection of insulation and fan depressurisation to ensure airtightness

8.2 air changes per hour at 50Pa (typical Canberra house 15-25)

Window and eave sizes optimised through scientific analysis and collaboration with architect

Small electric radiator panels for heating

Ceiling fans for cooling

PVC double-glazed tilt and turn windows

Timber double glazed windows

5000L rainwater tank

Evacuated tube solar hot water

3kW PV system

All communal/living spaces have northern glazing


Our house is not only functional - it’s also beautiful and highly energy efficient. The team’s creativity in the design phase was matched by their practicality and skill in the construction phase. With the help of their online project management software, our decisions were all captured, questions responded to and costs fully tracked. It was a very smooth process from concept to completion - we loved designing and building our house and living in it is even better!
— The Clients | Pete & Libby