Materials & Elements Selection


Wood is generally thought of as a sustainable building material – this really needs to be explored in specific contexts.

Parameters around selection of the elements of the building

The selection of components of the building were made based on a rigorous set of criteria.


Windows are portals for light, heat and cold, breezes and views. It is vital that each element is understood and used appropriately to maximise the benefits of these qualities and minimise their disadvantages.


The party walls between each terrace are constructed from rammed earth. The earth walls are sourced from Guildford, a small town 10km from Castlemaine.


On the Living Building Challenge ‘Red List’ are two products often used in conventional plumbing: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and Lead (added). Our challenge here was to provide safe, affordable transport for our collected rainwater to Bull Street Terraces’ taps.


It is NOT possible to get gas without mining but it IS possible to get electricity, as now we have the option of Green Power from solar or wind. With photovoltaic panels fitted to each unit this is the choice of power we have made for Bull Street.


We will use products that have been designed to be as efficient as possible. Products that are stylish, well made (preferably locally), with serviceable parts so the products can be fixed and maintained rather than totally replaced and will have a long, productive life.


Most Laminates, MDF and chipboard available in Australia have added formaldehyde, even if they are classed E0. Here we explore healthy and responsible alternatives for joinery.


It is possible to make better choices for each ingredient in concrete – cement, sand, aggregate, water and steel reinforcement.


What is insulation made out of? Where does it come from? Are some choices healthier than others?

External cladding

The external materials on Bull Street are Charred Cypress cladding, Magnesium Oxide board, Zincalume Z600 Shadowline 305, extensive glazing and a steel space frame.


Roofing is part of many interwoven systems within the building, providing waterproofing, rainwater and solar power collection, solar reflectivity and aesthetics.