Brunswick Lane Solar House

Creating space with a tiny footprint

“The house embraces the sun in its form and technology. The effect at night is magical – light from the balcony seeps through transforming the house into a giant delicate lantern”

– Stuart Harrison, Forty Square Metres of Land Doesn’t Normally Become a House

The Brunswick Solar House is a compact sustainable and flexible house on a tiny urban site of 121m² fronting onto a bluestone lane. The ‘upside-down’ design places the bed rooms on the ground floor where the thermal mass and high performance insulation provides an acoustically and thermally stable sleeping environment. Meanwhile the open plan living area located on the first floor benefits from excellent passive solar gain, cross ventilation and from borrowed views of neighbouring trees and sky.

The form of the building grows to the north–facing lane to maximize sun penetration for passive heating and create a feeling of space greater than the actual floor area.

A highlight window of glass louvres pops up to the south to catch cooling southerly breezes over the roof tops of the heritage houses to the south. Pitched at 22.5° this roof is also the optimum angle for mounting the grid-interactive photovoltaic array and solar hot water system.


  • Australian Timber Design Awards, Winner Young Designer’s Award 2009
  • BPN Sustainability Awards, Winner Best New Single Dwelling, 2009
  • Look Green Home Awards, winner Expert’s Choice Award, 2009
  • Shortlisted Victorian Architecture Awards 2012, Sustainable Architecture Category


  • Forty Square Metres of Land Doesn’t Normally Become a House, Stuart Harrison, Thames & Hudson, 2011
  • Warm House Cool House, Nick Hollo, Choice, 2011
  • The Eco Experiment, The Age Melbourne Magazine, Issue #58, August 2009
  • Affordabe Architecture, Great Houses on a Budget, Stephen Crafti, Images Publishing 2010
  • Green Living, Dec/Jan, 2009/10

Photography: Emma Cross