A Sustainable + Serene ‘Pod’ Designed For Any Environment

A Sustainable + Serene ‘Pod’ Designed For Any Environment

A Sustainable + Serene ‘Pod’ Designed For Any Environment


by Christina Karras

The pod is a collaboration between Steele Olney (of Studio Dot) and builder Evan Graham.

It’s designed to passive house principles, ensuring fresh air flow and energy efficiency.

The pod was inspired by the design of a quintessential Australian miner’s cottage.

‘You can’t beat sitting on the verandah when it’s raining outside, or in the shade on a hot afternoon,’ Steele says.

‘During periods of extreme heat or cold, you can close all your windows and et the heat recovery ventilation system do its work,’ he explains.

Timber and natural materials have created a calming atmosphere inside.

The bed doubles as storage, and integrated appliances and furniture help to maximise the small flooplan.

The interior has been finished with a range of different oils that contain zero VOCs.

A look into the bathroom.

The pod is manufactured off-site and can be constructed in around 14 weeks.

This passively designed, prefabricated ‘pod’ is the passion project of Studio Dot architect Steele Olney and builder Evan Graham.

Both based in Newcastle, the duo met after working on a few projects together, and bonded over their shared interest in sustainable design and building.

‘We both had thoughts about creating a dwelling that incorporated everything we had learnt about building health and Passive House science,’ says Steele, who is a certified Passive House designer.

‘There was also an element of frustration having both had the experience working on projects where quality materials were being substituted out, the design was compromised or not wholistic.’

Their vision was to see if they could find the right balance of good design, comfort, health, and sustainability — all in one compact cabin. It took about 18 months of conversations, research, and design until they finally landed on what they’ve called the Passive Prefab Pod.

The fully self-contained build is equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, a bench seat, and has options to include a queen bed or built-in dining seating in the versatile 25-square-metre floorplan.

‘We see them working on rural properties, in backyards, as a home office or eco-tourism accommodation. The possibilities are endless,’ Steele says.

The design was inspired by the simple architecture of the quintessential Australian miner’s cottage with a gabled roof and sliding doors, that open to an inviting veranda. Locally sourced hardwood timber makes up most of the build, alongside low toxic finishes, stainless steel and textural oriented strand board that creates a serene atmosphere inside.

Built to Passive House principles, the Pod offers high levels of thermal comfort, clean air quality, and energy efficiency without relying on artificial heating and cooling.

Steele says it creates an unseen quality that people notice when they step inside the display pod, but can’t quite put their finger on it. ‘We know that it comes down to a combination of things: the connection you have to the outside view through the large picture window, the natural finishes, constant fresh filtered air, acoustic ceilings and double glazing, all add to a notably enjoyable experience,’ he says.

The pods are available for a fixed price, starting at $244,310, and take about 14 weeks to construct.

‘We hear so many build prices fluctuating or exceeding expectations and budgets, we hope this will give the consumer an environmentally conscious choice with a price that is fixed.’

Contact [email protected] to learn more about purchasing a Passive Prefab Pod.