Musings on our building culture, the impact on the environment, and what you can do to make a healthier and happier place to work, live and play.
Whether you are building large or building small, there is no doubt that building your own home will be one of the biggest investments in your time, energy and money. The vast majority of new homes being built in Australia are from volume builders which can offer value for money when it comes to sheer amount of floor area. But what if you don’t need a four bedroom, three bathroom home with two living areas, and you only want to pay for what you need.
For those urban dwelling folk tied up in the rat race of city life, you no doubt enjoy having regular escapes to the country to destress. How many times have you imagined yourself making that blissful weekend getaway experience into your permanent lifestyle?
Something I co-designed while working for Helen Bernard Architect about 8 years back. We called this the 'Telescope House' because it had a runway with a landing pad for a large telescope that could be wheeled out of the house to gaze at the clear night skies. Did I mention the house is for sale? Check out Keatings Real Estate. Photos courtesy of Keatings.
Personal comfort levels can be very individual but certainly we can be designing our buildings to perform as well as they can specifically for their climate. A passive solar building made with natural humidity controlling materials can function very well at providing for a broad thermal comfort range without any artificial heating or cooling required.
With the ever increasing attractiveness of the so-called ‘tree change’ for young couples, families or retirees looking to escape the rat race and live a life more true to their ideals in semi-rural regions and townships, this notion of community certainly exists, and it’s there waiting for you to come and be involved and to help shape it.
Over the last few months I have been invited by the Smart Living Centre and BREAZE to deliver a number of public presentations about key design and building aspects to consider when you are wanting to build or renovate in a sustainable or energy efficient manner.
When I saw the proposal for the new supermarket in Creswick, I thought, surely our town deserves better than that. I literally spent 2 hours mocking up my own concept this morning of how a large commercial building on this site could address environmental and visual sustainability issues.
Since the high profile release of Tesla’s solar storage batteries a couple of years ago, it seems there is becoming less reason not to embrace the benefits that small scale renewable energy systems can bring to our households.
We must start focussing on building a heritage for tomorrow, to create something of value that over the next one hundred years generations of home owners will care enough to maintain their building. We must respect the past but not look to simply keep perpetuating it.
In the first of my regular column published in Secrets Magazine on all things sustainability, I write about the New Great Australian Dream and how building future-proofed houses will make us healthier, wealthier and happier!
Leaving a successful career in the corporate world to strike out to set up your own business takes some courage, especially when this coincides with moving to the country and getting married. Matthew Turner did just that three years ago when he established Enduring Domain Building Design and doesn’t regret it.
Sometimes when we are looking for signs of hope and integrity in a world which is ever increasingly suffering at the hands of globalisation and greed, it is comforting to know that there are individuals driven by pure altruism living in your own backyard who are doing their bit to make the world a better place.
So despite using rammed earth and curvy corrugated iron, what makes these buildings so special? The campus uses no active heating or cooling systems. Instead the designers and engineers have made the courageous decision to implement large scale passive systems to eliminate the need for fossil fuel consuming conventional Heating Ventilation And Cooling systems.
In a wildly generalist statement, there just isn’t the understanding or level or caring required in our mainstream building industry to be able to design and build homes and workplaces which can adequately control excessive levels of condensation and moisture. And it’s not just human health which is at risk but also the integrity of the building.
In the next chapter of the evolution of Enduring Domain we have now taken up an office in the hub of Creswick. In fact, we are right beside the new Creswick Hub building and directly opposite the popular cafe strip.
Here's some media exposure from way back in a 2008 edition of Natural Home Builder.
Note that the headline is referring to indoor temperatures WITHOUT artificial heating or cooling, just as our homes should be.
When I was a kid growing up in Ballarat in the 80s and 90s with a single parent I was beginning to become aware of the socio-economic division that existed between my family and other families of my mates from school. When visiting their houses for play dates and sleepovers I was in awe of the large brick veneer dream homes they were living in that had come straight from the pages of the AV Jennings brochures that I had become fascinated with.
Its been quite a few years now since I was an idealistic architecture student with the youthful naivety that seems to spawn creative solutions for all the worlds problems. I do however find it therapeutic and self-inspiring to look back at one's own theoretical work to remind yourself of how you felt when you were starting out, what was driving you to want so badly to qualify for this career.
It was 2003 and it certainly wasn't the first time that the CIty of Ballarat was examining design ideas for the CBD to make improvements to pedestrian and traffic flow, and to better emphasize some of our more impressive historical buildings. Although this time they had the brilliant idea to...
Many people have the opportunity to travel but due to lack of motivation and inspiration do not take it. I am not one of those people. My university studies provided a perfect catalyst to take up a student exchange position to enable me to experience the architecture of foreign countries. This soon grew into a passion for studying traditional building design, 'indigenous' architecture associated with a particular region and culture. Lets call this 'vernacular' architecture.
We didn’t have reverse cycle air-conditioning, we didn’t have central heating, we didn’t have double-glazing, we didn’t have fancy specialist architects, yet the form and function of our buildings adapted and refined themselves into what we would now refer to as regional vernacular architecture, something to be studied and admired and hopefully learned from.
Producing images like these is a standard service from Enduring Domain. They really help to flesh out the details and to resolve the design in the third dimension, not just in the two dimensional plans and elevations. But more importantly, we can simulate natural daylight...
Every time I pass through a social housing suburb or a small country village made of weatherboard miners cottages and I see a photovoltaic array on the roof that’s worth more than the car parked in the driveway, I think good on you. You are leading the way and setting an example for the rest of us.
We expect that our homes stay warm in winter and cool in summer with minimal reliance on artificial climate control. We expect that our homes nurture us, inspire us, alleviate our anxieties and despondencies so that we can go forth and live meaningful lives.