We're planning for a range of buildings in clustered houses, communal buildings, and a learning centre, integrated practically and aesthetically with the natural landscape and allowing us scope for a diversity of lifestyles. We will have 30 housing units grouped in six clusters each of between four and six units.
We are looking for ways of accommodating our own changing needs - for solitude, for shared living, for comfort, for wanting to feel close to nature. The whole community is involved in advising and deciding on what is planned. This is guided by an overall plan based on our careful study of the land. While the community has planned the shape of the cluster, the member plans his own house, individuals may wish to get together and plan an integrated cluster design.
Some of the pitfalls we would like to avoid are the over-planning and inflexibility of most private and public buildings and a lifetime of financial slavery to a lending institution.
We want to explore:
- a variety of materials such as mud brick, simple maintenance free finishes, "natural" forms of heating and cooling.
- different patterns of grouping buildings - as windbreaks, as structurally part of a stand of trees, designed to fit in with the character of the terrain and bush.
- ways of integrating inside and outside using pergolas, verandahs, screens, courtyards.
- the use of private areas, their size, and their relation to the boisterous shared spaces.
- innovating design features which ensure safety of children but allow them maximum independence.
- experimenting with means of introducing flexibility into design of buildings to allow for natural expansion or contraction.
A cluster arrangement will make the provision of services simpler and cheaper than in a typical suburban development. We anticipate the cost of running the services to the cluster would be paid by the community. The access road to the property is a four kilometre, gravel government road.
Road construction will be kept to a minimum, with the main criteria being access to the clusters for the largest necessary vehicles and adequate room for firefighting equipment.
The provision of water will be from several natural springs on the property and from roof tank water. The sewage treatment is fairly simple, designed so that excess water and nutrients do not get into natural water courses. The first stage of treatment is a septic tank for each dwelling unit. The outflow tanks will be connected to oxidation ponds.
We plan to run the telephone and any electricity services underground. Any gas service in the foreseeable future will be liquid propane.