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Out of office but not out of hope

Out of office but not out of hope.

This is not business as usual.

We’ll be joining students, workers and responsible leaders on the streets for the global climate strike. It’s time to make a stand. 

Join us on Friday Sept 20 at 12noon Trades Hall, Camp St., BallaratAll invited and welcome. 

We also recently pledged as part of the worldwide #architectsdeclare movement. Here’s what we believe in and how we’re pledging to act:

Australian Architects Declare Climate and Biodiversity Emergency

The twin crises of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss are the most serious issue of our time. Globally, buildings and construction play a major part, accounting for nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions whilst also having a significant impact on our natural habitats.For everyone working in the construction industry, meeting the needs of our society without breaching the earth’s ecological boundaries will demand a paradigm shift in our behaviour. Together with our clients, we will need to commission and design buildings, cities and infrastructures as indivisible components of a larger, constantly regenerating and self-sustaining system.
The research and technology exist for us to begin that transformation now, but what has been lacking is collective will. Recognising this, we are committing to strengthen our working practices to create architecture and urbanism that has a more positive impact on the world around us.
We will seek to:– Raise awareness of the climate and biodiversity emergencies and the urgent need for action amongst our clients and supply chains.– Advocate for faster change in our industry towards regenerative design practices and a higher Governmental funding priority to support this.– Establish climate and biodiversity mitigation principles as the key measure of our industry’s success: demonstrated through awards, prizes and listings.– Share knowledge and research to that end on an open source basis.– Evaluate all new projects against the aspiration to contribute positively to mitigating climate breakdown, and encourage our clients to adopt this approach.– Upgrade existing buildings for extended use as a more carbon efficient alternative to demolition and new build whenever there is a viable choice.– Include life cycle costing, whole life carbon modelling and post occupancy evaluation as part of our basic scope of work, to reduce both embodied and operational resource use.– Adopt more regenerative design principles in our studios, with the aim of designing architecture and urbanism that goes beyond the standard of net zero carbon in use.– Collaborate with engineers, contractors and clients to further reduce construction waste.
– Accelerate the shift to low embodied carbon materials in all our work.
– Minimise wasteful use of resources in architecture and urban planning, both in quantum and in detail.
In Australia, we as architects are aware that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have long espoused the cultural, social, economic and environmental benefits embedded in the holistic relationship of Caring for Country.
To see the full list of signatories see https://au.architectsdeclare.com/

International Passive House Open Day 2019

  • Our Owl Woods Passive House project will be open for International Passive House Open Day on Saturday 29th June 2019 – Talk & Tour at 11am. Bookings essential, and places limited. Book your spot here. NOW SOLD OUT!
  • Second (& final) session announced at 2pm. Book here.
  • Download our free PDF info sheet about the sustainable specifications of the OWL WOODS PASSIVE HOUSE: Owl Woods Passive House Notes
  • You can also find this home and all its specs listed on the International Passivhaus Database.
  • New to Passivhaus? We explain the basic principles here.

International Passive House Day is just around the corner!

We are excited to share that our Owl Woods Passive House project will be open – a rare opportunity to see a certified* Passivhaus that has recently been completed.

Our certified Passivhaus builder, Stuart Lee, from Craftsmen Quality Builders will be there with his Blower Door Testing kit to explain more about air-tightness. We’re very grateful to the wonderful owners for generously opening their doors to share their knowledge about their home – with the aim to inspire others!

*We are currently going through the Passivhaus certification process. We have reached the air-tightness target of less than 0.6ACH@50Pascals. Now its paperwork time to complete the certification process.

You can find all the details about visiting our Owl Woods Passive House in Trentham here: (Please note bookings essential and tickets are limited) https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/international-passivhaus-open-day-owlwoodspassivehouse-tickets-62703890023

If you would like to download our free PDF info sheet about the sustainable specifications of this project, please click here: Owl Woods Passive House Notes 

Currently under construction
Air-tight layer and triple-glazed windows installed
Sub-floor insulation
“Owl Woods” – look at them perched up on the birdhouse!
Recycling construction waste on site
Raised heel roof trusses for extra ceiling insulation
Oriented for Passive Solar Gain to north
Ducting for MVHR installed
Triple-glazed windows installed and taped to air-tight membrane
Ballarat Passive House Designer
We are members of the Australian Passive House Association

Do you want to know more about the Owl Woods Passive House? Click here to subscribe to our seasonal e-news and be kept up to date!

Do you have a question or want help designing your sustainable home? Please get in touch! 

What on earth is an “Earthship”?

Melbourne Earthship Group Ballarat Autonomous House Self-Sufficient radically sustainable architecture

 

Michael Reynolds – founder of Earthship Biotecture

This guy has been experimenting with bio-climatic, site-specific, passive-solar-design, self-sufficient, cradle-to-cradle approach, off-grid, & eco-homes for over 40 years now! (So he has been into true-sustainability well before any of those terms even existed – a real hero of the environmentally sustainable design movement!)

I was fascinated by the ethos & earthy curves of earthships when I first heard about them decades ago & there’s no doubt they’ve impacted the direction I took with my architecture career as a young student. It was inspiring to hear Mike speak when he was in Melbourne last year – with passion & some good old common sense about his inspiring approach. When I saw on the Earthship Australia Group that he was touring, I thought it would be a great opportunity to hear from a true pioneer, but I was also interested to see how the philosophy, theory and practice has evolved since his first experimental buildings back in the 70s…

master-veolia_1024x598-mikereynolds

What is a earthship-biotecture?

Earthships are radically sustainable buildings, that aim to be autonomous, self-sufficient, and co-exist in harmony with the earth – just “like a tree” (I’ve talked about this before). Continue reading

How would you like your architecture?

how much does an architect cost? how long will it take? slow architecture

How would you like your architecture?

This diagram is often referred to the “Iron Triangle” or “Triple Constraint” when it comes to Project Management. I first saw a similar venn diagram illustration in relation to graphic design, designed by Colin Harman), and the relevance was soon picked up by the architecture community.

The three opposing points if the triangle are:
QUALITY: good > shoddy (size/scope/features/detailing/sustainability)
COST: cheap > expensive (your budget for the whole project, including construction cost)
TIME: fast > slow (the program for the delivery of architectural services, as well as the construction program)

I created my own version, as a discussion piece for use with my clients – as it is helpful for setting your priorities for the project, and understanding that being able to achieve all three simultaneously is an unrealistic goal…although we can all dream!

The idea is that you can only “pick two”. Or you might find that there is one corner of the triangle that is a much higher priority for you. The closer you move towards one point, the more this will impact the other two sides of the triangle.

– If you want your home built cheap and fast, then it will not be of good quality.
– If you want a high quality home on a small budget, then it will take time.
– If you want your home built quickly, yet also of a premium quality, then it will be a much higher cost.

So where do you think the following buildings might fit on the spectrum?
A project home?
An owner-builder with hand-crafted features?
A multi-residential development?
An investment property to be flipped quickly?
A restoration to a heritage building?
A custom architect-designed home?

However It is not as simple as just these three parts – in terms of the size/scope AND different levels of quality/crafstmanship/detailing and energy-efficiency considerations, etc. This creates a more complex layering at the ‘quality’ end of the triangle.
i.e. if the project is very large but of average quality (think McMansions), then it could be the same cost/time as a smaller sustainable and energy-efficient home of the highest quality.
An architect colleague has done a more thorough analysis of the iron triangle with these 4 dimensions (iron-tetrahedron perhaps?!)

What about sustainability?

A truly sustainable home is usually smaller (not a McMansion!) which can bring the cost down as every square metre equates to more dollars. A green home usually means that the quality of the design and build is higher than standard (i.e. double or triple-glazing, more insulation, more care taken to seal gaps, etc.) and therefore the up-front cost will also be higher…however the running costs will end up being much lower over the life of the building, and will actually save you money!

We hope this has been some food for thought for you when considering your project.

Talina x

 


What is the priority for your home? Quality, Cost or Time – of the impossible utopia?! I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

We aim to answer questions about sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes, also with reference to our local climate (Regional Ballarat area and Melbourne) in future articles. Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our news so you won’t miss out on our posts!

Finding Equilibrium

Talina Edwards Profile Pic

 

When the Parlour team asked me to be a part of this inspiring series of Letters to my younger self, they posed a few questions I could reflect upon. The BIG question that is always asked is about work-life balance, and the answers are as elusive as the quest for the holy grail… So, this sets the scene for my letter, and I realised that as I was composing this, I was also tuning into my future self to give me the advice I need to heed right now.

 

Dear younger self, Continue reading