Tag Archives: Starting Out

#ElementalDesign Advice 04 SITE SELECTION

Talina Edwards Architecture Elemental Design Advice 4 Site

#ElementalDesign Advice 04 SITE SELECTION

“When choosing your site, ensure you undertake a holistic site analysis & understand all the opportunities and constraints.” – Talina Edwards

You might have a site, it might be your existing home, or you might be on the search for a new one. Whichever the case, it’s really important to gain a through understanding of all the pros/cons – as these will all affect what you are able to build on the site. Rarely is there a “perfect” site – there are always restrictions of some kind – such as easements, or perhaps limited northerly aspect, or steep sloping land, or neighbours really close, heritage overlays, or a bushfire prone area…. don’t see these as obstacles! They are all just part of the big picture, and the sooner you know about these restrictions, the easier it is to design with them in mind and find a solution.

Architects LOVE this problem-solving stage…I think we like a challenge! But this is where good design comes in! If we know all the parameters to work with, then we can focus on taking advantage of all the awesome features about your unique site – instead of battling against them.

If you’re starting out on your building journey, you need to know about YOU first! (We wrote about this here if you missed it.)

To get to know your site, ideally you’ll need to consider the following:

  • COMMUNITY AMENITIES? Close to trains/shops/schools/sports/leisure/hospitals, etc.
  • SITE SIZE? And shape, boundaries and beyond
  • LOCATION? Orientation? North, South, East, West
  • CLIMATE? Weather patterns, seasons. Sun, wind, rain, snow?
  • TERRAIN? Slope, rocks, hills, flat
  • VEGETATION? Trees & natural features
  • VIEWS? Neighbouring properties in all directions, desirable and undesirable views
  • SERVICES? Power, gas, water, sewer, etc.
  • ACCESS? Road, driveway, construction vehicles, cars, CFA access, bike, pedestrians, public-transport
  • SENSES? What can you see, hear, smell, touch, taste?
  • YOUR TITLE? Restrictive covenants/easements
  • UNDERGROUND? Soil classification, mines, sewer/stormwater pipes, etc.
  • PERMITS? Planning Permit Zoning and Overlays, Building Permit regulations and restrictions

If that sounds overwhelming, don’t worry – your architect can help you with this process! I offer a preliminary ‘Site Review’ consultation to chat about this and to help you navigate where you are headed with your project. You can find out more here.

Do you have a site, or are you trying to find one? Have you thought about all these aspects when it comes to analysing your site? Let me know in the comments below!

Ballarat Sustainable Architect Green Builder

Talina Edwards Architecture: elemental design is a Ballarat-based studio, with a passion for sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes.Click here to ensure you won’t miss out on our news!

#ElementalDesign Advice 03 BEFORE YOU START

Talina Edwards Architecture Elemental Design Advice 3 Before You Start

#ElementalDesign Advice 03 BEFORE YOU START

“Have a clear idea of WHY you want to build/extend.

Ask what is your biggest dream & your greatest fear.”

– Talina Edwards

Before you embark on your project, you should always start with ‘why?’. There are no right of wrong answers, but it will be so much easier to set the direction with what you want to achieve, by first understanding why you want to achieve it. In other words, what is your purpose? What are your values? What is the inspiration? What is the aim or objective or goal? Why? What is important to you? Why do you need to build or renovate? Do you need something bigger? Why? Perhaps you just want your home more efficiently planned? Do you want to make a statement? Why? Do you want live in a more comfortable home? Do you want to do less harm to our planet? Do you want to have an energy-efficient home so you will save money on running-costs?  Do you want high quality and durable building materials that will last? What are your priorities? Cost? Time? Quality? Quantity? Why? What are you willing to compromise on? Why?

So without turning into an annoying toddler, you get the idea! This exercise can be eye-opening, and really helpful. This may sound obvious but it is important to get your priorities in order – and  asking ‘why’ will help you get to the core of what you want to do.

If you want to more about the power of ‘why’, check out Simon Sinek’s TED talk. It was delivered with a focus on leadership and business, but I think it is still extremely relevant for any endeavour…as a client about to embark on a journey to get your dream home designed and built, it is imperative that your whole team is on board with you…especially your architect, as they’ll then help lead the consultant team and construction team – so you want your intention clear.

Understanding what you are most fearful about, and what your BIG dream is, are also both really important. Understanding more about yourself and being able to communicate all this to your architect, will result in a much better outcome!

It is then time to put together your project brief – based on your specific needs, desires & priorities. Some things you might want to consider:

  • Your ‘brief’ in terms of functional, physical, aesthetic, emotional, ethical, economical, and sustainable considerations
  • Your timeframe, budget, level of quality, and quantity/size (& where you are willing to compromise)
  • Your behaviour and habits and current consumption patterns.
  • Your use of rooms/spaces and how you would like to feel in them – what you like and don’t like. Think about the spaces/places you like now (i.e. yoga retreat, your favourite wine bar, a summer holiday, coming site) AND WHY you like them (dark/light, small/large, trees/sky/water, quiet/noisy, aromas/tastes, etc…



Hope that helps you get started on thinking about how you might go about building yourself a better place to live!

Have you reflected on these questions before? Can you see how this would be helpful at the start of any project? Let me know in the comments below!

Ballarat Sustainable Architect Green Builder

Talina Edwards Architecture: elemental design is a Ballarat-based studio, with a passion for sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes.Click here to ensure you won’t miss out on our news!