SUSTAINABLE FLAME ZONE HUT
MATTHEW FOSTER

MATERIALS: BALSA WOOD, PLYWOOD, GLUE, SPRAY PAINT

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Bushfires are an ever-present threat in Australia’s summer months. More than 2,700 homes were destroyed in the 2019/20 bushfires costing the economy upwards of $20 billion. 


Additionally, the price of housing in Sydney continues to climb due to increasing demand and lack of available housing. Given these factors, I wanted to design a house that was smaller, affordable and bushfire resistant. 


I aimed to create a product that would provide a flameproof sustainable solution to the housing crisis. It needed to be flame resistant and meet BAL-FZ standards. It also needed to be compact and able to house up to two permanent residents.

Sustainability was a key consideration and the product needed to be insulative and only constructed of materials that were not harmful to the environment. 


Due to cost constraints, a model was developed using balsa wood, plywood, glue and spray paint. 


I developed the design using SketchUp for 3D design and rendering and was able to achieve a photorealistic visual of the design before commencing physical production of the model. I used Floorplanner software to create the final floorplan design and furnished interior visualisation.


Laser cutting was used for the model as it produced the highest quality cuts ensuring all the pieces of the model would fit together neatly. 


Rammed earth walls would be used for external and internal walls as they are best for fireproofing and sustainability, and have insulative benefits. 


Double and tripled glazed windows would be used on the house as, although they are expensive, they are most effective at insulating. 


Solar panels would be used to provide a sustainable electricity source.


Overall, I am extremely happy with this design. The project has taught me valuable skills in problem-solving, research, experimentation, laser cutting, CAD and the importance of perseverance.