Tag Archives: Green Architecture

Your Home Designed Globally, Created and Aligned Locally

I often get asked to explain what I do – even when I say I’m an architect, or that I run my own architectural practice, I still get blank looks, or people want me to explain more. I’ve met some very inspiring women entrepreneurs over the past few years, and many of them have great business advice – including how important it is to try and communicate what it is I do (for you) in one short sentence. I previously thought my ‘elemental design‘ tagline and philosophy had it covered, but it seems that this might have been a bit obscure.

I’m very aware of the ‘eco-fatigue’ that exists now that there is so much green-wash out there, so I was keen to avoid words such as sustainable, eco, green, environmental, ethical, natural, organic, healthy, earthy, and so on, yet of course I still want to evoke that this is my ethos! (Which is why I like the term ‘elemental‘ design instead to cover these). However avoiding these words does make things a bit difficult, doesn’t it?!

Ballarat Central Regional Victoria Home Design Green Building Eco Sustainable Renovations

“Your home designed globally, created and aligned locally.” – Talina Edwards Architecture

Continue reading

It’s all about comfort! (2016 South Pacific Passive House Conference Melbourne #SPPHC2016)

I recently wrote this review for the ArchiTeam newsletter ‘Datum’ – the original article appeared here and if you’re wondering ‘What is Passive House?’, you can read more about this in my previous post.


 

It’s all about comfort! (2016 South Pacific Passive House Conference Melbourne #SPPHC2016)

Ballarat Central Regional Victoria Home Design Green Building Eco Sustainable Renovations

 

 

Comfort, you say?

  • Not too hot, not to cold – just right, always.
  • Healthy indoor air quality.
  • Calm, peaceful spaces.
  • A place for well-being.

Hands up who wants a home with these qualities?!

Heading along to the Passive House Conference in Melbourne recently, organized by the Australian Passive House Association, I was expecting a lot of technical information over the two jam-packed days. There were 24 presentations, plus workshops and a tradeshow. However, the biggest message from the local and international experts was to remind us that Passive House is all about occupant comfort, and this is achieved with well-designed (& well-built) passive buildings envelopes. This might sound obvious, but so often with discussion of the Passive House standard, the focus shifts to discussions of energy-efficiency and also the mechanical-ventilation system (which is really only a small component). Continue reading

So what is ‘Passive House’?

Passivhaus Sustainable Eco Green Architect Building Renovation Ballarat Buninyong Daylesford Castlemaine Woodend Blackwood GeelongIf you are at all interested in sustainable building, it is highly likely you have heard of ‘Passive House’.

Passive House (also known as Passivhaus where it originated in Germany) is an international method or technical standard of designing and construction a building to achieve a very high level of energy-efficiency, with little or no heating or cooling required. It is not to be confused with Solar Passive Design Principles (which includes orientation/natural ventilation/insulation/shading/thermal mass etc.) although most of these principles can still play a part in the overall design.

It is not an architectural style, but more concerned with the building science of how the building is put together and how it performs.

Here’s a super simple 90 second explanation for you:  Continue reading

Creative Cubby Project – Ballarat Show 2014

You probably know by now that I’m not “just an architect” (nor just a mother), but that I also love sharing my passion with others about sustainable design, often by writing and speaking about it, and being involved with the local community.

I’ve been involved with a fabulous project with a great team that brings a lot of my interests together – it’s a Creative Cubby Project – to teach and inspire (and be inspired by!) our future generations about sustainable living. How much fun?!

Creative Cubby Project Ballarat Show Flyer

Our flyer… it’s all about FREE, fun and family-friendly!

Our first event was at the Ballarat Show, this past weekend. Three full days of creativity, fun, play, innovation, inspiration and learning a bit about sustainability, whilst building a giant cubby house out of recycled materials! We were very fortunate to receive a “Community Impact Grant” from the City of Ballarat to help fund the project. Most of our materials were donated – including some very large boxes, or purchased from the fabulous recycled collection at Reverse Art Truck (formerly known as Reverse Garbage). These included boxes, egg cartons, cardboard tubes, cereal boxes, card, bottle tops, synthetic grass, timber dowells, ribbons, magazines, straws, cork, pipe-cleaners, fabric and more!

Creative-Cubby-Project-Materials

Just some of our materials… we had LOADS!

We were a spin-off from an “Eco-Cubby House” event at last year’s show, and were also very inspired by “Caine’s Arcade” – a 9yo boy who built an entire games-arcade from cardboard! Check out the heartwarming video about him, and the “Imagination Foundation” that resulted… We even joined our project in their Global Cardboard Challenge (which is all about engaging kids all over the world in creative play – over 46 countries are currently involved)!

Creative-Cubby-Project-Making

Our little makers (and some big ones too!) were so busy creating!

I loved the imagination and creativity that the kids displayed – and their parents too! We had a rule of “no glue and no paint” so everything could be dismantled and disassembled at the end of the project and then reused or recycled. This meant more innovation and creativity was involved with the building and making! Instead of glue, our fixings included: masking tape, pegs, string, rubber-bands, twist-ties, paper-clips, bulldog-clips,  pipe-cleaners, pins and staples.

Creative-Cubby-Project-Site

Our eco-cubby house and garden!

Our main cubby house was built over the three days and included tunnels, towers, secret rooms, openable windows and doors, skylights, peepholes, curtains, flyscreens, wind turbines, solar panels, ceiling fan, roof garden, green wall (with flowers), letter box, chimney, welcome mat and more! Our main garden area included a large tree (complete with leaves, birds, insects, swing, lantern, nest and more), a sky (including sun, clouds, rainbow and plane), our rooftop garden (full of trees, plants, flowers, scarecrow, caterpillars, rabbits, pig, birds and butterflies),  stepping-stones, a fish pond, and a patchwork shade sail!

Creative-Cubby-Project-Objects

Look at some these fabulous creations!

The kids had free reign over what they wanted to contribute to the project.  Some of their ideas were fabulous! Check out the welcome-sign for the door, the barbecue complete with kebabs(!), the upholstered armchair, the stick insect and spider, and the fish pond complete with water-feature! We had a radio, a tv, a clock, all made out of cardboard! There was also a garage – as we had some truly inventive tractors, trolleys, cars and trains… all run on fuel from renewable resources of course!

Creative-Cubby-Project-Kids

How much fun is a big box with a hole cut in it?!

I think our favourite thing was seeing the joy on the kids’ faces as they explored and discovered the ins and outs of the cubby, and then felt some ownership as they contributed. It was so gorgeous to see! We had such lovely feedback from both the kids and adults – many visited more than once, or stayed for quite a long time, and many said it was their favourite thing at the show! We especially loved hearing that our zone was a calm haven amongst the crazy, busy, noisy, expensive and instant-gratification of the rides/carnival-games/junk- food/showbags outside our pavilion. We had repeat comments about the value of ‘quality family time’, free-family-friendly, space to recalibrate, calm haven for kids, creative craft time, easy to replicate at home, held their kids attention, learning more about sustainability and reduce/re-use/recycle… and the words “slow cubby movement” were heard a number of times….

Creative-Cubby-Project-Team

Our Creative Cubby Project team!

I feel very fortunate to have been invited to be part of this fabulous community art engagement initiative!
A big thanks to the fabulous project co-ordinator, Pauline O’Shannessy-Dowling, (POD Design) who is a local Visual Artist, who creates intricate, whimsical drawings often with bright, bold colours. She regularly runs art-workshops with school children, encouraging creativity and artistic expression of imimaginative thinking.  And a big thanks to the lovely Liz Cummins, Ballarat Landscape Architect of ‘Bricolage Design‘ who specialises in play spaces and children’s landscapes. Liz also has a background in early childhood education – how lucky were we to have her wisdom and experience! Liz also wrote a great wrap-up of the weekend here. And for those who don’t know me, I’m Talina Edwards, of Ballarat-based sustainable design studio ‘Talina Edwards Architecture: elemental design‘, and also a mum to two creative young lads. I think together we made a great team, and please stay tuned for further news about where our Creative Cubby Project might pop up next!

Find out more:
Like us on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CreativeCubbyProject
Follow us on twitter: https://twitter.com/creative_cubby
Email us at: creativecubbyproject@gmail.com

And as always, if I can assist in any way with your very own “eco – cubby”, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! ;o)

Talina-Edwards-Architecture-Signature

 

 

 

Do you value creativity in kids? What’s your creative outlet? What do you do to “slow” down? (Please reply in the comments box below).


 

Talina Edwards Architecture is a Ballarat-based studio, specialising in sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes. We like to help answer your questions about environmental design. Don’t forget you can click here to sign up to receive our monthly newsletter  (or over there on the top right-hand side of this webpage) so you won’t miss out on our news!

 

WHAT Is A Sustainable House? Ballarat Green Drinks Presentation

Ballarat Green Drinks Sustainable House

 

Talina Edwards Architecture is a Ballarat-based studio, specialising in sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes. We like to help answer your questions about environmental design. We recently began a series of posts covering the WHY, WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and HOW of sustainable design. You can read about the “WHY” here and the “WHO” here. We’ll be tackling the other topics in the coming months, but today I want to briefly discuss “WHAT is a sustainable house?”

I recently gave a presentation on this very topic to a large bunch of sustainably minded folk in Ballarat. I was invited to present at “Ballarat Green Drinks” which is part of a global organisation of volunteer-run events, where a guest speaker will chat about their particular interest in sustainability, and hopefully inform and inspire others. It’s also meant to be very much about having casual forum where the community can have a drink and meet with some like-minds. I’ve written about the “Worlds Biggest Green Drinks” Ballarat-event previously, and also a review about a Green Roofs presentation  last year.

Ballarat Green Sustainability Drinks community event sustainable house home eco enviro presentation

 

I only had half an hour to try to cover an enormous topic, so I tried to break it down into 10 main points of what I think the characteristics are that make a truly sustainable house. This was a bit of a utopian vision, as although there is encouraging progress with many new homes and renovations starting to take some energy-efficient principles into account…we still have a long way to go. This talk was not meant to be about HOW to achieve a sustainable house, nor was it about me spruiking my services and how I could help. In this forum, it was an opportunity to remind everyone WHY we should do sustainable design in the first place, and to understand the philosophy of what sustainable-houses of the future could (or should!) be. I also covered why I became interested in sustainable homes, and some historical references relevant to our region.

So…

“What is a Sustainable House?”

A sustainable house is a house like a tree.

I was first introduced to this idea by Michael Mobbs, in his book ‘Sustainable House‘, who said “A tree must meet all its needs for food, energy and water where it stands.” And also in Peter Graham’s book, ‘Building Ecology‘: “Buildings are a part of earth’s eco-systems…but they are rarely treated as such.”

My presentation had illustrated examples of each point with statistics and quotes, so I’ll cover these in future posts in much greater detail, but here’s a quick summary:

1. a sustainable house is… site specific

2. a sustainable house is… small

3. a sustainable house provides… shelter and comfort

4. a sustainable house is… well-designed

5. a sustainable house is… self-sufficient (solar energy)

6. a sustainable house is… self-sufficient (water)

7. a sustainable house consumes… minimal resources

8. a sustainable house… doesn’t pollute

9. a sustainable house is… responsibly inhabited 

10. a sustainable house is… beautiful and loved

So stay tuned for me to explain all of these in the coming months…as well as continuing to tackle the who, what, when, where, why, and of course the HOW of sustainable design.

Did you attend the Ballarat Green Drinks Presentation? If you haven’t already done so, I’d LOVE your feedback via this little survey – it will only take a few minutes. A HUGE thanks to everyone who have responded already, there’s been some insightful feedback, and it has given me plenty more questions which I will answer in future posts. (Or please feel free to leave a question in the comments below!)

Talina-Edwards-Architecture-Signature

P.S.  Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our monthly newsletter  (or over there on the top right-hand side of this webpage) so you won’t miss out on our posts!