In Australia, an architect designed a house to resist wildfires
In the heart of the Blue Mountains, an hour’s drive from Sydney (Australia) is a World Heritage Site, with countless eucalyptus trees, sandstone cliffs and great waterfalls filling the sky. In the middle of this natural paradise, on three hectares of land, the architect Simon Anderson has set up his second home. This area is like a forest fire, sometimes violent, big fire 2019-2020, which destroyed much of the east coast of the country. “Forest fires have been on the rise in Australia over the past two decades, with fire safety standards for buildings located in high risk areas. We have always known that building a house on Blue Mountain is dangerous. The benefits of living in the woods outweigh the risks associated with forest fires if buildings are constructed according to forest fire design rules.Says bodybuilder Simon Anderson.
Fire fighting installations
The house has a concrete slab and structure and is covered with a fire resistant magnesium oxide board. There is also a small amount of fuel in the surrounding woods. In reality, “The land near the house is minimal. Windows have a very high level of radiant heat resistance“Shutters were installed to further reduce heat and protect windows from volcanic eruptions and potential debris, and a heat recovery system filters smoke from forest fires,” he said.
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 mobile telephone network, the family is armed with satellite coverage to continue to receive information about the fire. The family can remotely close some firewalls using this system.
Architect and volunteer firefighter, double hat
“The house must be able to withstand the most terrible firestorms“¸ He adds that to protect his family from being trapped inside, Australia has the highest protection label of wildfire protection and windows that can withstand around thirty minutes of direct attack on its structure can certainly be damaged but during the forest fires of 2019-2020 the system of the four burned down villas Not at all.
“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 and then go out and put out the fire around the property.“If the road to their home is blocked, the family has created a series of roads.
Relatively high costs
It is the first time that the architect has worked on the design of a villa capable of withstanding such extreme fire conditions. “Before offering this type of house to our customers, I need to know how to design this type of construction against fire and to test it at home. Today we work in many knowledge-based homes.“
New owners have more options due to 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 of using these firefighting measures. The perforated sliding windows on the west facade protect the house from fire, but can also be used as a sun shade in summer. As for the roof of the porch, “When folded, it acts as a fire shutter for neighboring windows“.