New Builds

The Rathmines Home Project: Sustainable Sophistication by “The BuildHer 8”

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Building Designer
Buildher Collective
Ben Callery Architects

A community collaboration residential building project involving Buildher Collective co-founders Rebeka Morgan and Kribashini Hannon, and six of their DevelopHer Masterclass graduates, The Rathmines project by “The BuildHer 8” in Melbourne’s northern suburb of Fairfield is a stunning example of a collaborative community effort.

BuildHer Collective’s vision for the two houses located next to each other was to create architecturally different, but complementary homes with strong clean, contemporary lines. The suburb of Fairfield is in the trendy Inner North of Melbourne, where new homes and extensions are sophisticated yet edgy, and tend to be full of character and personality, thus The BuildHer 8 delivered a clean, fresh and contemporary look, with an abundance of class. The look was softened by materials and finishes reflective of north-side Melbourne style delivering sophistication and edginess with a side of character and personality. “BuildHer Collective undertook this project to demonstrate that as women, we have the power to create so much value by coming together to develop property in a joint venture,” said Rebeka Morgan. “But first and foremost, we wanted to create value for the future homeowners by building beautiful sustainable homes, and along the way have a pile of fun and make a profit.”


Sustainability and energy-efficiency

BuildHer Collective took a three-pronged approach to delivering sustainability features throughout the 7-star energy rated homes. “We did this by making sure the build was energy efficient from a design perspective, looking at items such as orientation and window spaces, window shrouds, and cross ventilation,” said Rebeka. The team then looked to material selection, increasing insulation, double glazing, and choosing the right combination of claddings to ensure there were efficiencies throughout. “Finally, we looked to low or zero carbon principles such as using recycled bricks, not connecting gas to the site and providing fantastic solar panels and Tesla Powerwalls,” said Rebeka.


A clean, minimalist look

Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding has been used on the first floor of both houses. The look contrasting against the other materials, especially the recycled cream bricks, and providing a clean and minimalist look. Made from pre-textured, pre-sealed fibre cement, Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding is built tough for Australian conditions but also offers unlimited design possibilities. Ready to paint and very paint-friendly, the cladding’s render texture diffuses light so colours appear matte, making the cladding perfect for dream home designs which don’t seek overly decorative styles.

Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding was perfect for our project for a couple of reasons,” said Rebeka. “Firstly, it delivered an effortless rendered look which paired so well with our painted brick cladding. Secondly, the ease of installation is such a huge advantage!”

Rebeka notes that it only took two workers a few days to install all the sheets and they were able to easily lift them up to the second storey. “The trades found the product easy to install which was a lifesaver! With so many delays due to Covid-19 lockdowns, using Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding didn’t delay the process and our timelines weren’t blown out,” said Rebeka. With no renderers, bricklayers, or specific render trades required, the cladding saves money and provides a modern, contemporary look with clean lines. Being pre-primed the paint application was also quick which made the cladding easy to work with, notes Rebeka.

Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding helped BuildHer Collective deliver a modern design with sustainability features throughout. “The suburb of Fairfield is in the trendy Inner North of Melbourne, where new homes and extensions are sophisticated yet edgy, and tend to be full of character and personality, so the Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding was great for helping us deliver that clean, fresh and contemporary look, with an abundance of class. The use of recycled brick in the North House needed to be softened and balanced out and we did that with this great product.”


The BuildHer Collective Journey

For BuildHer Collective it is always about the journey and the team. “We really love developing and the fabulous people that come on board! Everyone had their own unique roles and we used this to our advantage so that each participant got hands-on project experience,” said Rebeka, who also noted that all had to rally together to get some not-so-glamorous tasks done. “What people need to know is that there is never a perfect division of tasks and responsibilities, and that also ebbs and flows over the stages of a project. What is important is that everyone is leaning in and doing their best!”

BuildHer Collective’s DevelopHer Masterclass teaches women how to build a lifestyle around property development. “With The Rathmines, we knew this was in some ways a proof of concept that joint ventures like this can work,” said Rebeka. “We’re proud to share that now we are regularly hearing from more women wanting joint venture opportunities! Within BuildHer Collective, we've started three more projects plus another group of members in Canberra that have come together themselves. We think people crave community collaboration, and with the right set of tools and information, anyone can do it. And that’s super exciting.”

Find out more about Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding here

Architects and Designers can order a Sample & Accessory Kit here

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