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…

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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

5 reasons YOU should come to the Smart Building and Living Expo!

Planning on renovating or building? Want an energy-efficient home?Want to live a more a sustainable life? Want to talk with some passionate experts? Then come to the Smart Building and Living Expo!

Alternative building sustainable living festival

The 2018 Buninyong Smart Building and Living Expo

Well it’s that time of year again! The nation wide Sustainable Living Festival is on once again – including our very own local Ballarat (Buninyong) version – The Smart Building and Living Expo! This is the fourth year this event has run (and the fourth time I’ll be here – but this time with my new team!) – and it gets bigger and better every year. A great range of local stallholders, exhibitors and services – all with a focus on sustainable living. (Here’s some pics of the first time I attended). It is on Sunday 25 February 2018 from 10am to 3:30pm at Royal Park in Buninyong (corner of Hedrick and Warrenheip Streets). We’ll be located under the verandah of the hall, so whatever the weather brings, we’ll be sheltered. Hope to see you there, and please do come and say Hello!!

Not sure if it is your thing? Here’s 5 reasons (yep, FIVE!) why you might want to come along (you won’t want to miss these!): 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

Open House Ballarat 2017!

Open House Ballarat website

Have you heard the exciting* news?!

(*Well there’s plenty of people who are excited, and I hope you will be too!)

Open House Melbourne has joined forces with the City of Ballarat and Visit Ballarat to bring the first regional event here to Ballarat! Hurrah! Welcome to the inaugural Open House Ballarat! It really is like another gold-rush of creative goodness happening here right now.

As co-chair of the Ballarat Regional Architects Network (along with another local architect Mick Moloney), it has been great getting to know the fabulous team at Open House Melbourne in the lead up to this event. We are very proud that this is an opportunity to share our love for architecture and design and celebrate it with our community and visitors to our city.

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My photo of the fabulous old-school paper program, printed by The Saturday Paper – love it!


 

 

 

 

There will be a range of buildings open (not just ‘houses’!) over the weekend of October 28th and 29th, plus a film screening plus kids activities and more which are FREE! Note that some open houses do require advance booking as places are strictly limited. See more at http://www.openhousemelbourne.org/ballarat/ballarat-buildings.

What are my top picks, I hear you ask?! We are spoilt for choice, but here’s a few that I haven’t been to yet! (And there’s a stack on the program that I love but have already visited.)
Open House Ballarat Two Halves House

The two-halves house is a gorgeous example of contemporary residential architecture, and designed by my mates! The owners did an amazing job by owner-building (project-managing) this themselves, so kudos to the whole team! 

 

Open House Ballarat Bishops Palace

For those who love heritage homes and a bit of grandeur from yesteryear, check out Bishops Palace as it is sure to impress! And those pitched gable-ends are so on-trend again right now ;o)

 

 

Open House Ballarat ACU Chapel

I’m keen to check out the chapel at ACU which was recently renovated by local architects – I love the use of timber, stone and the contemporary stained glass window with the interesting trussed roof. I’m always fascinated by spiritual buildings.

 

 

Open House Ballarat Integrated Health Services

The brand new Ballarat Community Health building appears to have the most sustainable design features out of the Open Houses in Ballarat (which is what we love to see!) and it looks like a lovely, light-filled space that promotes wellness.

 

The Open House Ballarat weekend is also part of Ballarat’s Season of the Arts program, so there are lots of great reasons to enjoy our beautiful city at the moment! Hope to see you around town experiencing how great architecture can make a difference in our world!

Talina-Edwards-Architecture-Signature

All images sourced from www.openhousemelbourne.org/ballarat unless noted otherwise.


Have you ever been to an Open House event? Which Ballarat building would you love to see? I’ve 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!