2020 – end of year reflection

These images were our most popular posts on instagram this year and have become our end of year reflection….
1. I’ve been reflecting about this most challenging, but also most rewarding year ever (both personally & professionally). I’m so very grateful for all the incredible people in my life – BIG THANKS to all my family, friends, colleagues, clients, builders, consultants, peers and mentors! Our little emerging practice grew to a team of five with two new employees (plus a few additional honorary team-members too).
2. Obtaining official Certified Passivhaus status for our pioneering #OwlWoodsPassiveHouse has become a much more momentous achievement than we could have ever imagined. We’re now recognised as leaders in the industry for showing what is both achievable and necessary for more climate-responsive and responsible buildings. We also helped create an inspiring book of case-studies ‘Passivhaus in Australia’ for the Australian Passive House Association – we initially joked that the aim was to “make passivhaus sexy” and some recent feedback about the book confirmed that we achieved this goal!
3. OwlWoodsPassiveHouse won multiple awards, but most importantly our clients are happy to be living in their comfortable, healthy, resilient, sustainable, efficient & beautiful home. We were also grateful to our clients and builder for presenting with us at the SPPHC2020 to share our lessons learnt with this ground-breaking project.
4. In our first year of entering national awards (for architecture, design & sustainability), we were thrilled to be nominated, shortlisted & also the winners of a bunch of awards. I was recognised for not only my professional practice & our architectural projects, but also for my leadership in the profession and advocacy roles with Architects Declare, the Australian Passivhaus Association, Architeam Advocacy committee and more. This voluntary work is incredible meaningful to me as I’m incredibly passionate about how we can achieve more sustainable and regenerative outcomes for the health of people and the planet.
5. The importance of community has been amplified this year. This is some of my neighbours in our median-strip at the very start at the Autumn Covid-lockdown before masks were compulsory & we could safely socially-distance together. Although we all have #zoomfatigue now, I’m so thankful to have been able to stay connected with my growing tribe across the country during this time.
6. I feel privileged to be one of the organisers behind the scenes at the Architects Declare movement & am so proud to see our whole industry taking meaningful action towards our vision for a better future. Our work has only just started… we look forward to much more transformation as we’ve learned that we’re stronger together.
7. Caring for country, biophilia, connection to the wilderness, our love for nature became even more fundamental this year once we were denied the freedom of movement in the outdoors that we previously took for granted. This is beautiful Lake Wendouree on Wadawarrung Country and it’s the heart of Ballarat.
8. When life starts to feel overwhelming, I try to make time to slow down, breathe and re-connect with the earth spirit as this always helps me re-gain clarity about the bigger picture. I’ve become a literal tree-hugger and with this beauty it’s easy to see why.
9. We’ve loved seeing progress by our owner-builder clients on their #permaculturepavilions home this year. Architecture is a slow game that rewards patience. This sustainable home is definitely worth the wait – and I’s so proud of the owners prioritising quality over quantity. We look forward to sharing the story of this home (& others we’re currently working on!) with you soon!
We wish you a Happy New Year!
Talina, Celeste, Mia, Matt & River


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