Light Reflex – Limestone House by Wardle

Words by Camille Khouri
Architecture by Wardle
Video by Dan Preston
Interior Design by Wardle
Window treatments and awnings by Shade Factor

A major consideration for a house reaching Passivhaus and Living Building Challenge certification is the management of solar gain. When designing Limestone House, which adheres to both sustainability standards, Wardle made use of automated sun shading blinds and awnings from Shade Factor to ensure the house stayed at a constant, comfortable temperature.

Put simply, a passive house requires much less energy to create a comfortable living environment for its occupants than a standard home by having a very efficient external envelope. This allows for all the house’s energy needs to be met through site generation as required by the Living Building Challenge. Without proper sun-shading, a passive house can run the risk of overheating and requiring the overuse of energy hungry mechanical cooling systems. Whilst homes with a strong sustainability focus often have an efficient rectilinear form, this home is designed in Wardle’s signature style with a sculptural form. With complex orientations and sun angles, the architects needed to be smart with their solar control, to ensure the house maintained a comfortable temperature even in the height of summer.

Engaging Shade Factor for motorised external venetian blinds and a conservatory awning by Warema connected to a Climatronic automation system, the house responds to changes in temperature and the movement of the sun by shading or exposing windows and skylight.

To assist in the project’s sun shading needs, Wardle engaged the experienced team at Shade Factor.  Motorised external venetian blinds and a conservatory awning connected to a Climatronic automation system by Warema were chosen, making the house responsive to changes in temperature and the movement of the sun by shading or exposing windows and skylight.

This advanced climate control system uses a discreet rooftop weather station and logic panel to control both the blinds and the Warema W20 conservatory awning, shading an asymmetric skylight over the main stairs. This externally mounted awning is optimally tensioned and wind stable, with a guide system that prevents any light ingress and shields against overheating of this partially enclosed space.

To allow for manual control of glare and sunlight, many of the rooms in Limestone House also have Shade Factor internal roller blinds in a reflective Silk White fabric, lending an inviting ambience to the interior spaces.

Wardle selected external venetian blinds by Warema for all north, east and west facing windows. These high-performance blinds are German-engineered and operate by reflecting solar radiation before it reaches the glass to minimise heat gain. When retracted, the slats are concealed from view, allowing unhindered views of the garden. Blending with the richly finished recycled Australian hardwoods throughout the home, the external venetian blinds are finished in a light bronze tone.

While sustainability was a major part of the brief for this house, the clients also wanted a bespoke home with contemporary character and a striking aesthetic The solar control blind system works quietly in the background optimising the solar effects to enhance the interior comfort to deliver this vision.