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COVID-19 wake-up call a chance to design smarter homes

first_img How to live like TV star Sophie Monk Seller farewells ‘last piece of real estate in Australia’ Queensland architects continue to push for more sustainable housing with less waste.Queensland’s top architects have weighed in on the challenges the housing industry faces in the wake of climate extremes and COVID-19 and are calling on Queensland homes to “hold and nurture life” through resilient design, a climate-focus and the production of less waste.“We’ve come through a pandemic, we’re spending more time inside, so our buildings need to hold and nurture life a lot more with respect to air quality, natural light and natural air, and the ability for food and energy to be generated by buildings,” said Sparks Architect founder Dan Sparks, whose renovation of a former inner-Brisbane warehouse, Art Box, won the GHM Addison Award for Interior Architecture at the 2020 Queensland Architecture Awards. Art Box at Teneriffe.“What we’re dealing with now in the world is a wake-up call for everything we’ve been doing wrong. Let’s get it right.”He said eradicating or minimising the materials and the waste used in homes comes down to forward-planning in the early stages of a design process. Art Box. MORE “It’s about making the design a lot more flexible for future use, so not knocking down a house but seeing how buildings can be reused or pulled apart and used again,” he said. Art Box.The Chair of urban design panels in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, Noel Robinson, designed the $18 million eco lair called Domic, which won Queensland’s top landscape architecture award last month and now a state award for residential architecture at the Queensland Architecture Awards. Domic at Sunshine Beach near Noosa.“Designing for climate is critical,” Mr Robinson said.“The project we delivered for the award was the most sustainable project we ever did. It’s built into the ground, covered in the landscape. It’s got solar collectors, batteries, all the things that lead to self-sufficiency. It will have a life cycle of 100 years or more. We need to look at those sorts of things that enable us to deliver for the future.” Inside the Domic eco lair.Mr Robinson thanked homeowners who not only had the drive and vision to collaborate with architects on projects that pushed the envelope for sustainable housing, but who also allowed a critical, public appraisal of their private homes by giving permission to enter them in the awards. Inside the Domic eco lair.“Having a good architect doesn’t mean it’s going to cost more, it’s part of the process and there’s a massive amount of human capital in developing a good design, a lot of heartache and pain and from that comes good outcomes,” he said. The view from outside at Domic.In Mount Gravatt, Alcorn Middleton architects (Joel Alcorn and Chloe Middleton) spent $500,000 on the renovation of Ms Middleton’s childhood home after convincing her parents not to demolish the building or move to another house, but to repurpose the property for multi-generational use by building additional pavilions. Peekaboo House, Mount Gravatt.The Peekaboo House won the Colorbond Award for Best Steel Structure at the Queensland Architecture Awards.“What used to be an internal hallway in the original house is now a breezeway,” Mr Alcorn said. Peekaboo House.“We have gates at the end of the hallway so when you step out of the bedroom you are technically outside in a breezeway. We did that because Brisbane is in such a hot environment and it’s only going to get hotter, so we’ve designed all spaces so that they can open right up so there’s three breezeways to break up the pavilions. More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa7 hours agoParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus9 hours agoThe breezeways at Peekaboo House, Mount Gravatt.“There’s a perception that design costs a lot of money but with this particularly house we remodelled the existing house and built two new pavilions and it was $500,000. So that is quite achievable for a lot of people.”The Queensland Architecture Award’s top residential award went to Casuarina House, on the northern beaches of New South Wales where Brisbane architects Vokes and Peters designed a house on the side of a block to allow the natural environment to steal the show. Casuarina House, northern New South Wales.“If our profession is to retain its relevance into the future, I think we need to start thinking about designing smarter and asking more insightful questions about what it is that improves people’s lives and what brings joy,” Aaron Peters said.“A lot of us are building homes that are bigger than we need, or acquiring things that don’t really bring happiness to us.” Casuarina House.He said the architect is a multi-disciplinarian, part psychologist who is able to extract a meaningful understanding of who a client is and what will bring them joy, part builder and part problem-solver.“There are so many different things to what we do. And in the midst of those things we need to not lose sight of the bigger picture, what brings value and delivers outcomes for owner-occupiers, clients, users, people in the community, and what kind of designs will improve their lives.”He said COVID-19 had caused people to slow down in their lives and take a breather after running pretty hard, with the home becoming a source of joy and respite from the world around them.“So to have a beautifully designed house to come home to is a really amazing luxury and so is having a home that also says something about this amazing place in the world that we get to live in,” Mr Peters said. Casuarina House.“So the difference is a project home that could be anywhere on the face of the planet, or coming home, opening a gate, and walking through a garden or a coastal landscape, taking your shoes off, and walking into a bespoke house that really opens up to the outdoors, and embraces the climate in which it’s built, that’s a pretty amazing privilege.”More than 20 projects from northern New South Wales to Far North Queensland were honoured at the Australian Institute of Architects’ Queensland Architecture Awards, in a virtual ceremony held in Brisbane on Thursday night. FOLLOW DEBRA BELA ON TWITTERlast_img

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