The most common causes of criticism against architects are budget blowout and failure to listen to the client. We respect the enormous position of trust you place with us. We understand that your house is probably the most expensive thing you will ever buy, and that the lines we draft on a page incur costs of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Passive solar reduces the energy used for heating, cooling and lighting. At a base level, there is no extra construction cost. The improvements are from superior design. At a higher level, you invest in better performing materials which pay for themselves over the lifetime of the house. In practice, passive solar becomes a cost/ benefit analysis. We want to spend the least amount of money for the greatest benefit, and decide where the point of diminishing returns in reached.
Our view is that a conservative, overpriced market is driving many people into unnecessary debt stress for most of their productive lives. Excess spending on oversized housing is often justified as an investment without any analysis or accounting of the full costs after interest paid on a bank loan. We’re keen to work on affordable alternatives.
This is the core of affordable. One half of this is the attitude of owner and designer. The other is technique for making smaller spaces work better. It includes multi functional spaces, functional planning, tall vertical storage, flexible walls, use of light and landscape to make a space feel bigger. Actually, most of the spaces in a typical “big” house feel terrible because they don’t suit the human psyche.
If you pay for it, why shouldn’t you buy something that suits you? We design for everyone, including families, single parents, singles or couples without kids, retirees who want to live at home longer, people from different backgrounds and cultures. Even a whole range of different generations and people living close together. People change, grow up, age. Why not design housing that can adapt to change?
The materials that make a house cost the environment. We consider and attempt to minimise the costs: energy & resource consumption, impact on land & wildlife, and while we’re at it, the toxicity levels of the materials. It’s a complex exercise but at the top of the list is no tropical rainforest timber (kwila, merbau, pacific maple etc,).
The typical house is a death trap in the event of environmental, food or economic crisis, while making a significant contribution to the problem. Everything we need is imported, used up and thrown away. For an additional perhaps 5 % of the construction cost, on site water, power and solar hot water can be integrated into the design. A cost which is recouped not too many years later. The “waste water” on larger properties can be recycled via gardens to produce food which – guess what -likes nutrient laden water. Everybody wins!