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Caravanserai – Off-Grid Prefab House on French Island

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Caravanserai is an off-grid prefab house, that was transported to the build site on French Island by barge. Designed by Melbourne-based practice Lai Cheong Brown and completed in 2015, the farmhouse covers 192m² (2,067ft²), including decks.

The site sits on a ridgeline looking out across Philip Island to Bass Strait and back across bucolic, pastoral landscapes to the French Island National Park. This leads to views in almost all directions which we were keen to capture but also to an intense exposure to the winds and driving rain coming in off the Strait.

Our solution was to design a simple square form courtyard house which would provide a sheltered outdoor space while also maximizing daylight and natural ventilation into a house that was going to need to be self-sustaining in terms of power.

This worked well with the prefabricated nature of the build, enabling an easy module breakup, and allowed us to route circulation around the courtyard while living and bedrooms were given the opportunity to look out to sea.

— Lai Cheong Brown

Drawings:

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Photographs by Jaime Diaz-Berrio
Visit site Lai Cheong Brown

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