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You will be allocated a location in Australia or New Zealand. You will research the climate of the location and then find examples of traditional designs and building systems from places in other parts of the world with similar climates.

Demonstrate how the environmental and cultural factors influence the design of traditional house in your similar region and how it can be applied and implemented to housing at your location in Australia. These examples should be analysed for any lessons that might be used in passive solar housing in your given location.

This will be done through:

  1. A written submission; 12-14 pages of text with extra pages for diagrams and photographs.

Diagrams and photographs are encouraged and should be referenced separately.

Climate Assignment

           Location: Winton, Queensland

 Ecologically and climatically appropriate housing design.


Most traditional housing around the world is well-adapted to its environment and generally makes use of ecologically appropriate building materials and forms. Before mechanical space heating and cooling were available, traditional housing developed a natural harmony with the climate and had as a consequence, a minimal carbon footprint. With global warming, we are returning to ecologically sustainable and climatically appropriate building designs. Particularly in this assignment, we will be looking at housing designs, in climatically diverse locations within Australia, investigating appropriate solutions for that location from elsewhere in the world that will have a minimum carbon footprint. You will be focusing on traditional solutions (say prior to 1900’s) from around the world, in similar climatic locations; to derive possible solutions to the location you will be assigned.

Your allocated location is; Winton Queensland you are to become familiar with its particular climatic constraints. You are then to investigate other locations around the world in similar climates and discover the type of traditional housing that developed to solve their particular needs for warmth (or cooling) and shelter.

You must research the following topics to determine their influence on housing design for your location:

  1. The characteristics of the climate.
  2. Average maximum summer and minimum winter temperatures.
  3. Diurnal temperature range both in summer and winter.

iii.            Humidity levels in summer and winter.

  1. Solar characteristics (sun path and intensity of solar radiation).
  2. Atmospheric conditions (dust, cloudiness, precipitation e.g. mist & rain).
  3. Incidence and extent of snow, if applicable.

vii.          Evaporation rates, rainfall intensities, flooding, fire and any other extremes of climatic conditions encountered at your location in New South Wales.

viii.         Remember to consider the use of vegetation to control the extremes of the climatic conditions, if at all possible.



  1. Lighting needs of the house
  2. Glare problems; snow or bare ground.
  3. Natural and artificial methods of lighting.

iii.            Lighting control throughout the day.


  1. Acoustic background of the house
  2. External noise levels
  3. Internal noise levels


The locations chosen have some degree of discomfort in their climate. It might be the hottest day recorded or length of hot days or the highest evaporation rate. Or it could be the lowest or highest rainfall recorded with associated extremes of flooding or the highest altitude with resultant snow loads.

You are to overcome these extremities and make your housing solution an ecologically sustainable solution using traditional methods sourced from overseas. We are primarily focusing on characteristics of the environment and climate that impinge on housing design and deriving solutions in Australia that would be acceptable to our culture in Australia.

You can use modern building methods or materials to construct your house, but the focus is traditional solutions. You can use solar panels to generate both electrical & hot water, but again the focus is traditional solutions. The keywords are ecologically sound solutions that are climatically appropriate to the area you are assigned.

Common problems

  • You are to discover countries that have similar climatic zones, and determine from your research the type of traditional housing, that might have appropriate lessons for the area in Australia.
  • You must NOT include a general discussion of the cultural, geographic or political background of the country, unless it relates to the design of housing. Marks will be deducted for padding.
  • Structural concerns, from snow, floods, earthquake & hurricanes should only be discussed if they affect the lighting, acoustic or thermal characteristics of the building.

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