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The Habitat
The Habitat
Last updated:
Russell Island, Brisbane, Queensland, AU
Climate zone:

Amanda McLennan Bron(wyn) Elliott Carlo Makhoul Michelle Maree Gunders Valeria Andrews
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The Habitat

Project Type

Urban, Residential, Demonstration, Educational

Project Summary

An experiment in minimal-impact suburban housing on an island in Moreton Bay, Queensland (Australia). This project is in the early stages of planning and needs your input to make it a reality!

Project Description



For the first stage we are looking at a prefabricated aluminium-framed modular building system known as Ecoshelta which is lightweight and flat-packed like an Ikea piece so it can fit on a flat bed ute (great for getting it there on the barge). It can be erected to lock up stage in a weekend and only needs four concrete block footings which can be hand mixed on-site: saving emissions and embodied energy. Recycled aggregate in the footings, and salvaged corrugated iron cladding/roofing and timber flooring and decking can further reduce environmental costs associated with building the first stage.

From there the second stage will involve extending the living space with outdoor summer kitchen, bath-house and bedroom pavilions using locally sourced materials; possibly earth walls (cob or rammed earth) or infill strawbale construction (rendered with earth from the site) using hand-adzed small diameter poles of the locally abundant Allocasuarina torulosa for the framing.

The final stage will be a permanent tent or two (e.g. Ecostructures) for WOOFers and paying guests from sea-kayakers to birdwatchers.


  • Dry composting toilets: box-seat over removable composting chamber (converted wheelie bin) allows night-soil to be safely reclaimed for use on fruit trees.
  • Japanese-style bathing: permanent hot-tub heated by solar-collector (evacuated-tube type). Bathers stand or sit on stools to wash, and rinse off (under a low-flow shower or bucket of hot water drawn from the bath) before bathing. Microbes inoculated in gravel floor perform first stage treatment of greywater before it is routed to the fruit-tree swale/s.
  • Greywater treatment: biomass (woodchip/straw) filter as grease trap removes solids and oils from kitchen effluent which is then drip-fed to fruit trees.


Courses Taught Here!
Project Badges
Urban Residential Demonstration Educational
Ben Hamley - Designer Michelle Maree Gunders - Architect
Team Members
Hannah  Fitzpatrick  - Garden Manager 2015 season

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