High up on a cliff in Daylesford, Victoria, construction of the first CSIRO tested bushfire resistant house is now underway. Conceived by sustainable designer Joost Bakker and made with straw bale insulation and set into a recycled steel frame with magnesium oxide cladding, the house challenges traditional construction methods and materials.

Tested by CSIRO using a bushfire simulator in Mogo, NSW, the design has been proved to resist bushfire attacks and withstand temperatures of over 1000°C.

Known for sustainable restaurants and vertical gardens, Bakker is no stranger to pushing design boundaries. The new home will feature a grass covered roof that captures pollution through ‘living’ soils.

Joost Bakker said that right from the inception of this project he has shared a great relationship and synergy for sustainability with the owner of the house, Mitch Watson, Hepburn Springs Mineral Water Founder.

CSIRO Fire Safety Engineer, Alex Webb, said the house material reacted very well when tested by CSIRO earlier this year.

“The test results proved the house to be a viable option for use in bushfire prone areas,” Mr Webb said.


  1. The steel and magnesium cladding are high embodied energy materials . surely traditional lime rendered straw with hardwood poles ( yate and similar dense timber that will not flex with heat and only char if exposed) would perform as well and deliver lower cost and lower embedded energy. good to se someone trying new system though.

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