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SHD Tour: Burnett House

SUNDAY 16 JUN 2024 | 9:15AM - 10AM

Burnett House, Myilly Point

4 Burnett Place Larrakeyah Northern Territory 0820 0820

This tour will commence at 9.15am and will be guided by Andrew Spiers 

Burnett House, located in Darwin, Northern Territory, is a historically significant residence that exemplifies sustainable architectural practices adapted to the tropical climate of the region. The house is a part of the Myilly Point Heritage Precinct and showcases the early 20th-century efforts to create buildings that harmonize with their environment, a principle that remains central to sustainable architecture today.

Historical Context:

Burnett House was designed by Beni Burnett, an influential architect who worked for the Commonwealth Government in the early 1930s. His designs were part of a broader initiative to construct government housing in Darwin that could withstand the challenging tropical climate. Completed in 1939, Burnett House is a prime example of Burnett's innovative approach to architecture in the tropics.

Architectural Significance:

Beni Burnett's contribution to architecture in Darwin is significant due to his pioneering use of climate-responsive design principles. Burnett House is one of four houses he designed at Myilly Point, each reflecting his commitment to sustainability and functionality. Key features include:

  • Elevated Structure:
    The house is elevated on stilts, allowing for airflow underneath the building, which helps cool the interior naturally and protect against flooding.
  • Louvre Windows and Ventilation: Extensive use of louvre windows facilitates cross-ventilation, reducing the need for artificial cooling and promoting natural air circulation.
  • Shaded Verandahs: Wide verandahs provide shade, minimizing direct sunlight on the walls and windows, thus reducing heat gain and enhancing outdoor living spaces.
  • Lightweight Materials: The use of lightweight materials for construction allows the building to cool down quickly after sunset, contributing to a more comfortable indoor environment.

Sustainability Aspects:

The design principles employed in Burnett House align closely with modern sustainability goals:

  • Energy Efficiency: Natural ventilation and shading significantly reduce the need for mechanical cooling systems, lowering energy consumption.
  • Climate Adaptation: The house's design responds effectively to the tropical climate of Darwin, demonstrating a long-standing tradition of building resilience.
  • Material Use: The use of locally sourced, lightweight materials reduces the environmental footprint associated with construction and maintenance.

Legacy and Conservation:

Burnett House stands as a testament to the enduring relevance of traditional, climate-adapted architecture. Its preservation offers valuable insights into sustainable building practices and serves as an educational resource for architects and the public. The house is managed by the National Trust of Australia (Northern Territory), which ensures its conservation and promotes awareness of its historical and architectural significance.

Burnett House is more than just a historical building; it is a pioneer of sustainable architecture in the tropics. Beni Burnett's innovative designs have left a lasting legacy in Darwin, demonstrating that sustainability and comfort can go hand in hand. The house continues to inspire contemporary architects to incorporate traditional climate-responsive techniques into modern designs, ensuring a sustainable future built on the wisdom of the past.

Terms and Conditions for attending property: 

Please read through the House Rules and Terms and Conditions for attending homes on Sustainable House Day Darwin: 

Sustainable House Day Darwin Terms and Conditions - COOLmob

Burnett House, Myilly Point
4 Burnett Place Larrakeyah Northern Territory 0820
Darwin, NT 0820
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Bridget · · 0410118586
Warren Fryer oliver crowder