Construction of the main house
Amani house evolved into construction of a cottage, main house and garage. Whereas some alterations were to improve the existing house, on instruction from engineer, Gavin Lutge, the poorly constructed structure was demolished in its entirety. The foundations and walls were totally rebuilt. This impacted on the project significantly both in time and component being that the original design of reinstating clay brick shifted to a complete earth-brick structure. As a result it was decided to make use of as much of the material in ‘re-construction’ as possible.
Construction of the cottage
Most of the materials from the demolition of the main house were used in the construction of the cottage. Build rubble such as brick and concrete was used as aggregate in foundations and for drainage systems. Doors and windows were restored and built in. The joinery was used for artistic ceilings and worktops. Only the roof sheeting and insulation were purchased for this part of the project. Like the main house, the cottage has thick earthen walls, natural plasters and beeswax-sealed floors. The cottage faces north and large sliding doors allow winter sun to heat up the lounge and bedroom spaces. It comprises a single bedroom with en-suite bathroom and an open plan kitchen and lounge.
The house consists of three circular structures connected with inter-leading passages. The walls are constructed of compressed earth bricks and bonded with a lime mortar. The walls are almost 400mm thick and offer ideal thermal mass. The living roof incorporates mandalas of healing plants and water is channeled into pits in the earth, such that water can be kept on the property. The house is heated with 2 central fuel-efficient wood fireplaces and hot air circulates the house comfortably. The kitchen and bedroom joinery is custom-made from timbers on the property. Alien gum and stone pine trees were felled and shaped into lintels, planks and the like with the intention for using in the construction of the house. This can be seen and appreciated throughout the house.
Construction of the pool
This beautiful pool was designed to work with natural processes in a volume-contained environment. It makes use of indigenous wetlands; the animals and plants within which nutrients are absorbed. This keeps the water clean and clear without the use of chemicals or excessive power consumption. The water is purified in the process and safe to drink.The result is pure, soft, life-enhancing water in a natural swimming pool cradled within a beautiful aquatic garden.Frogs and tadpoles can be seen and heard and the pool has drawn an array of birdlife to the premises. It is a wonderful example of how design and truly green technology can combine in a simple and elegant statement.