2016 Multi-Density Residential and Best of the Best Prizes: 88 Angel Street by Steele Associates Architects

  •   5 May 2017

88 Angel Street by Steele Associates Architects seamlessly integrates optimal low-energy building design with stylish and comfortable spaces.

The three-terrace development is proof of the commercial viability of residential buildings designed using cutting-edge technologies with sustainability as the central goal. The ubiquitous green roofs which cloak the buildings are just the tip of the iceberg of an environmentally conscious construction in which the subtle elements are equally impressive from a design standpoint.

The challenges were mostly how to put together a package of features that would make the house environmentally sustainable, aesthetically pleasing and comfortable to live in while keeping construction and eventual maintenance costs viable.

Throughout the entire project since conception, each aspect has been researched, modelled, tested and finally selected to ensure that it is the best available to craft a highly-efficient, highly-liveable home. The building materials have been sourced to ensure minimum environmental impact.

The spatial arrangement is driven by passive solar design principles. Stack-effect ventilation expels summer air through the open, shaded glass roof when automatically opened by thermostat control. All rooms have windows that ventilate while maintaining weather-tightness and security. This design for cross-ventilation creates perceptible breezes in all habitable rooms.

In winter, the glass roofed courtyard is closed, and the shade louvres automatically tilt to admit and trap the sun’s warmth. A 600mm Bioethanol fireplace is enough to comfortably heat the kitchen, living and dining spaces. The glass wall separating kitchen and courtyard with a pivot door is intended to be closed on winter evenings, keeping the fire’s warmth in the living space. Opening the door allows the heat to permeate the sleeping levels at bedtime.


  • 3 Star Envirocrete was selected for the concrete slabs and wall fill
  • Timber I-Joists were chosen for floor joists as it is engineered to be manufactured from scantlings therefore reducing wastage. Where steel was required, One Steel products were selected as they’re largely recycled
  • Highly insulative products were chosen for all areas that have external contact to ensure that the building temperature could be passively controlled
  • The roof uses 200mm Kingspan Roofliner under the green roof and 100mm KS1100 under other areas
  • The side boundary walls are constructed from Ritek XLT pre-fabricated panels
  • High R-values were also selected for all external glazing
  • The façades of the building feature timber slats that have been treated with the ancient Japanese technique of Shou Sugi Ban
  • All paints and finishes were researched to ensure that they were low-VOC and durable to ensure the living spaces remain healthy and require minimal upkeep
  • The open plan kitchen/dining/living room features oak flooring which is FSC-certified and engineered to ensure minimum wastage
  • The joinery veneer is also FSC-certified timber and the polyurethane joinery coating is water-based and low VOC
  • The carpets throughout the building are Access Greenstrand
  • The outdoor kitchen cabinet is made from 100 per cent recycled plastic
  • The passive design of 88 Angel is complimented by an array of state of the art active systems that operate cohesively to ensure that when electricity, gas, and water are needed the requirements are minimised, and hence environmental impact is reduced
  • A 5000 litre rainwater collection tank complements a 3000 litre on-site retention tank, storing water under the backyard decking which is used to irrigate the green roofs and gardens
  • Much of the roof space that is not covered by green roof is occupied by 8.5 kW of photovoltaic solar modules
  • Heating is available through a Bioflame ethanol burner, which uses sugar-based ethanol as its fuel a renewable energy source
  • Passive cooling can be complemented through the use of Aerotron e503 fans, which are installed in each of the bedrooms, and offset the need for air conditioning on warm days by creating ventilation and air movement
  • Hot water systems were chosen to be instantaneous gas
  • House wide water usage is measured and displayed digitally by an Aquamonitor water meter
  • Appliances in all areas of the house have also been selected to be water and energy efficient
  • All light fittings are LED
  • Energy efficiency and minimised environmental impact were primary design drivers of the 88 Angel St project





Jury Citation

“The more we read about this project, the more it just kept on giving and giving. From its Envirocrete slab and carpets made from recycled PET, to its massive green roof and huge solar array, the environmental footprint of this building has been deeply considered from top to bottom.

“The building’s commercial success is owing to the architect’s commitment to delivering a premium product without compromising on best practice sustainable building and material procurement. It provides a sense of optimism to the industry by demonstrating that real sustainability can compete in the market with the status quo and be an integral part of commercially-successful developments.

“Sydney needs more and more of these projects if it is to keep up with the types of developments going on in Melbourne.”