Architecture awards give sustainable designers a gold tick

Innovation and commitment to sustainable design has been recognised with top awards from the Australian Institute of Architects.

The 2014 Australian Achievement in Architecture Awards presented Troppo co-founders Phil Harris and Adrian Welke with the Australian Institute of Architects’ highest honour, the Gold Medal. Architect John Macdonald was awarded the Leadership in Sustainability Prize.

Troppo was established by Phil Harris and Adrian Welke in Darwin in 1980, borne out of their desire to produce socially responsible architecture. We have featured their fabulous designs many times in Sanctuary magazine.

Troppo says its designs respond to the local climate, connecting the indoor with the out. Harris and Welke’s ethos epitomises the importance of building for place and people: producing work that is sympathetic to the land, using locally relevant materials to create settings that work for the informal Australian lifestyle. The firm is especially proud of its work in remote Australia, so distant from sure power and water, builders’ yards and hardware stores.

John Macdonald from Melbourne’s DesignInc won Institute’s Leadership in Sustainability Prize. John has over 35 years of design practice experience and has pushed the boundaries of sustainable design and energy management.

His K2 apartments in Melbourne have led the way in terms of Australia’s environmentally sustainable public housing. They have rainwater storage, greywater recycling, reduced gas and electricity needs and photovoltaic panels to generate solar power.

There are 96 units spread across four separate buildings, all designed and positioned to receive maximum natural light. A ‘green spine’ that links the buildings promotes interaction between tenants who have access to a number of gardens and communal spaces.

Read about the beginnings of and inspiration behind Troppo. Read more about John Macdonald on The Fifth Estate

Above image: South Australian creek chic. Image courtesy Troppo


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Many greywater systems are low-cost, easy to use and can feed your garden with a regular supply of water.

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