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RAIA national awards 2007.

edited November 2007 in architecture
"Sustainability was a theme across all the categories, and has quickly become embedded in the core practice of architecture, with its rapid "mainstreaming". The Jury considers that the seperated category for sustainability may have built in obselescence - which, paradoxically, represents a kind of victory."

Carey Lyon, 2007 RAIA National Jury Chair.
Jury Overview
Architecture Australia, Nov/Dec, 2007. pg. 73

a kind of victory?

"Lyon's Queenscliff Centre, the peak marine environment research facility in Victoria was designed seven years ago and finally completed in November after years in VCAT............It has achieved a 6 star rating even without the points that would have accrued from having a green expert on board from day one. Lyons estimate that the upfront capital contribution to achieve this rating has been less than ten percent......meeting it was well within the skills of normal practice."

Leon Van Schaik, Queenscliff Centre.
Architecture Australia, Jan/Feb, 2005 pg 54-55

The Green Building Council of Australia has never ratified this rating for this building.
The Green Building Council of Australia is the certifying body for the green star rating.
This building was unsuccessful in being certified as a Green Star Building at any level.

Is the blurring of facts in relation to claims - "mainstreaming" sustainability?
Is sustainability really yet within the skills of normal practice?

This year Kangan Batman TAFE won a National sustainability award - though its reported the chairman of the jury had to go and stand in the carpark while the remainder of the judges deliberated his office's entry.
(One wonders when some of these jurors will have the grace to not have a building in the awards they judge?)

Of Kangan it's been said.

"ACE stage One has achieved a five-star Green Star rating for design."

Stuart Harrison, Automotive centre of excellence.
AR 098, pg 101

"Kangan Batman TAFE has been acknowledged for the innovative and environmentally sustainable design of the Automotive Centre of Excellence building at the Docklands. This state of the art building already has a five star green star rating, because of its systems in place to reduce office greenhouse gas emmissions and water consumption."

Janette Sato (marketing and student relationship managment)
Kangan Batman Institute of TAFE. sustainability/

Exactly which portion of the building is 5 star?
Is it the portion dedicated to offices that consitute a small part of the building?
Is it the Cafe?
Is it the extensively single glazed workshop area constituting the bulk of the building?
And is it true there is currently no green star rating tool for the workshop area (industrial) and therefore it is not rated?
The right tool - the industrial tool - has only just been released in a pilot version.
So how green is this building?

Maybe its still too soon to dispense with the Sustainability awards.
Having a category that keeps things focussed on the pointy end of what is still obviously a difficult area of technical expertise might be useful for a few more years.
Maybe then we can talk about "mainstreaming" sustainability successfully and mercantile offices can get on with what they do best - exploitation.


  • simon seasons
    edited January 1970
    I'm not qualified to talk on this topic either but i'll give it a go. California's Governator Arnold Schwartzy has introduced or is about to, legislation that will force all new structures to be sustainably built and run by 2020. That is ten star ratings for all new structures within thirteen years. Visit 'inhabitat' to read more ( i don't yet know how to do hyper links, so there)
    I argue that achieving this goal will be the easy part and that forcing the conversion of existing infrastructure towards green credentials should also be a high priority.
    This will involve force in my point of view because the current voluntary system is being taken up at a rate too slow for the looming crisis.
    Selling a structure that is not green rated should be legislatively discouraged as much as building one or designing one.
    can we hope that the recent announcement that all new victorian structures have to have a minimum 5 star rating from May next year will be enhanced by referring to a minimum of 7 stars and higher with incentives for designers and builders that include free tutorials on techniques and theories of sustainable design?
    BUT, can we hope that these initiatives will have any effect while it is still possible for the clients who will buy this stuff, to ignore it all in favour of the same old same old because there is no legislation in place effecting the resale of rated or non rated properties.
    I so hope that i am ignorant of just such a piece of legislation in the pipeline because i am fairly certain that most clients still consider a green rating as no more than another compliance certificate that requires their most minimum attention. Until it burns a hole in their personal pocket, people just generally ignore the fact that it 'burns a whole in the ozone layer'.
    I just found an old renovation magazine from 1969 with a classic passive solar refit mascarading as facelift. Within the text is the line. "The owners were pleasantly surprised to find that their air conditioning costs were drasticly reduced" . Obviously the architect got away without telling them that their makeover was actually a passive solar masterpiece. Looking and reading further through the magazine it becomes clear that long haired hippie ideas aren't welcome.
    That attitude still prevails and still forces architects and designers to compromise on good design. Well the climate crisis demands that we stop dilly dallling about the wanton desires of clients and start forcing everyone to consider first and foremost what is good for the planet. ie. legislation that puts the onus on qualified people to make the decision re how and what to design as regards passive solar sustainable design.
    We all know that asthetics fit easily into the equation of sustainable design and asthetics can't be legislated, but orientation towards the letter box has got to stop and the rating system has to go way beyond the tokenism of a water tank and a single solar panel to power up the one dozen motion sensor lights and two story McMansions with christmas tree lighting in June and no one at home
    I referance to 'long haired hippie ideas' because one poster on the inhabitat site congratulated Schwartzy on his initiative with the proviso that "we can't afford to wait for lefty tree huggers to come up with the ideas that are needed to solve the crisis"'
    I think Boyd would roll in his grave and so to would Frank Loyd Wright to be described as lefty tree huggers devoid of ideas when all "good' designers have been struggling for years to get clients to adopt what is essentially passive solar and sustainable design. How long before some bloody credit is given where its due. More to the point, how long before some bloody credit is demanded by those to whom it is due, so that we can get the job done.
  • hairdresser
    edited January 1970
    no one's got you tied to the bed yo bitch.

    - interesting idea simon seasons -
    achieving 10 star ratings will be the easy part?

    What if the rating is not based on the construction permit or theoretical modelling but post construction testing.
    Might make architects less fond of confident claims.
    We'd hear the sharp intake of breath as each new project went under the microscope of assessors with thermometers and pressure guages.

    Maybe then some serious discussion and research will result.
    .............more than tiresome 70's passive platitudes - many of which in this country are entirely unhelpful.

    The ex president is right about one thing.
    ESD is irrelevant to the RAIA - so they may as well drop it.
    He himself has set a fine example.
  • simon seasons
    edited January 1970
    Yo hairdresser. I feel your post in vaguely in agreence with my sentiment but just to make sure, i'm gonna bang this snare drum until the cows come home. Thanks for your impetus.

    Yes I do believe that achieving a ten star equivelant will be easy ,with new structures, compared to achieving it with the mass refit that will one day be required of us as design professionals. In any one year, world wide, something around 2% to 3% of all infrastructure that could be classified as buildings and which absorbs almost all concrete, steel and wood production are NEW structures. All the rest are existing structures.
    You tell me which will be the easier task? Building green or refitting green.

    As far as achieving ten star ratings with ESD, it is not as if architects and designers are being called upon to redesign the wheel. And neither are legislators for that matter. Boyd wrote design manuals for ESD 50 years ago but unfortunately deisgners in this country and America seem to have capitulated to fashion and 'ART' for far too long. As a postee on 'grist' wrote in reply to another thread I was on, "McMansions in the burbs are as nessecary as Humvees". Their time will end as surely as climate change has begun.

    Frankly, I don't think that many people realise the gravity of the situation that is looming upon us. Too many people think five years ahead at the most and most of them think it'll be just the same as today. Because that is the great cowardise of humanity in general.

    Well hello!, 99% of bona fide scientists say that climate change is a reality and we know from ABS figures, United Nations figures and a host of other sources that one of the biggest contributers to climate change, by far ahead of internal combustion engines, is the energy consumed BY EXISTING STRUCTURES. We as design professionals can jump through hoops if we want to but really all that's stopping us from practising ESD is fashion.
    Well f--k fashion. My great grand children will be less than interested in fashion. If we as a society don't do something to turn around this monumental disaster then our great grandchildren will be scrounging for potable water!
    As design professionals we are in an especially urgent and important position to contribute enormously to the only solution that we have to climate change. That is, that we must reduce the amount of energy that society AS A WHOLE consumes. One day and a lot sooner than a lot of people seem to think. A design decision based on fashion or 'ART' and not on ESD will be as immoral as peadophilia.

    If the ex president of the RAIA can declare ESD to be irrelevant,!!!
    Wasn"t there once upon a time, a great king who set his throne up on the beach and said he could hold back the tide, and twice a day ever since he has looked like a jackass.? King Canute was his name I think, but he is largely forgotten.
  • hairdresser
    edited January 1970
    you appear to be agreeing I presume mr. seasons.

    As for Boyd - I think of him as a dandy and a snob who built freezing cold houses.
    My point is simple in relation to the wisdom of the past.
    Examples can easily be monitored and measured as cases and their performance reasonably stated under a Green Star system that will grow more refined and precise with the passing of years. Then we don't need to guess about whether there are pearls of wisdom we need to carry around on a string.

    What a world it will be if the day comes when the tide no longer goes in and out -
    environmentally speaking.
  • simon seasons
    edited January 1970
    I really must get back to work HD, But quickly,
    I have seen an early 1960's advertisment for a Boyd "passive solar design" using those words and it looks to be no more fridgid than other modern classics. I don't know or care if dandism and snobbery was a forte of Boyd's, but I do know that just today on inhabitat website, a house has been listed as the first 'platinum LEED rated private building that isn't a prefab, to be constructed in Los Angeles.
    My point is that far from reinventing the wheel, designing high green rated structures is old hat. The fact that they don't get built has doodly squat to do with 'monitoring' and 'refining'. There are two thousand year old indian structures in Patagonia South America that are pure "passive solar". The fact is that architects that don't give a shit and clients that care even less have been driving the market: over an abyss called global warming.

    I am not sure what you agree with. Is that an ongoing problem.?
  • hairdresser
    edited January 1970
    the modern classics should be rated like everything else.
    Only then would I understand your view.
    Claims are of little use. refer post#1.

    monitoring and measuring might deflate hot air balloons or
    It might send a few higher.
  • simon seasons
    edited January 1970
    Dear HD, Having referred to post your number one, I think we are in agreance.
    It's just our differing levels of understanding the 'claims' . I know my limitations but I feel you may think yours are a virtue. I may be writing to you but i am speaking over your shoulder to any and all who will listen.

    Elsewhere in this forum i have stated that i think the rating system in this country is a piss in a pocket tick-a-box affair that in my opinion, seriously underates the inherent potential of both designers and the available technologies and materials.
    The reasons that this may be so, to the point that past pres' of the RAIA can declare ESD to be irrelevant, are in my view mainly to do with fashion and.... Cartels may be involved but I don't know and really I don't care.

    All I can see is that for years and years, a seriously under-valued ethos and raison d'et design has gone underused. Not for want of the information to build and design with ESdesign in mind, but for want of enough adherants to the now obvious advantages. (See current and pending legislation in California)

    Further, the magnitude of the disaster that is global warming driven climate change, is such that the threat to the whole of humanity warrants the abandonment of a voluntary rating system for human structures and it's replacement with a compulsory level of ESD below which no structure is allowed to be built and above which compelling incentives apply for the conversion of existing structures

    We don't have the time to monitor and measure anymore since not only is the information about how to do it already available, it is of no consequence that a few hot air ballons may descend and a few unblown trumpets may raise.

    My arguement is that we have to mobolize for a human catastrophy. I am talking about a mobolization of resources and materials that will easily match and will probably outdo that done to defeat Hitler in WW11.
    Architects and designers are in a unique position to do something about it but if we don't then architects and designers will be replaced with people who do understand the urgency. You and many people may think I am on a rant but so be it.

    I myself am retraining from a carpentor and furniture maker into a house designer because I know that what I am talking of is something that is real. It is not only coming, it is already upon us and I am not going to spend my last 40 years twiddling my thumbs when i could have been making a differance in the one area i know something about.
    I have been a passionate believer and defender of ESdesign for nearly twenty years because even back then I could see that the future was going to be completely governed by the needs of the enviroment. I didn't think I would see it so soon and my children and thier peers are frightened. Pearls of wisdom are pointless if all one does with them is string them around as decoration. A member of the youth that I showed this thread to scoffed because it seems to indicate that your and other peoples concerns don't go very far away from your comfort zones. They said " They just don't get it". I said "well some do, but many people don't understand the size of the problem because it is just so huge, so they can't see the size of the response that is needed"

    My design teacher has a story to illustrate critical mass that makes a great analogy, which goes that if you were to stand on a pier and push with all your might against the hull of the QE11 then eventually, and it would take half the day, the great ship would begin to move, and there would be no stopping it unless one pushed at it from the other side for half a day.
    That is what global warming is. It is a human created disaster incrementally increasing in dimension every day that nothing is done to reverse it.
    The whole world has to stop shovlleing coal down its gargantuan throat, we have to replant all the millions of acres of forests we have cut down and we have to build ESdesign like there is no tomorrow.

    There is no point to a volunteer system that is widely ignored but there is every good reason to maintian and bolster enviromentally sustainable design. Yes, modern classics should be rated like everything else but not if its just a matter of gongs on a mantlepiece. I am talking about the welfare of the planet being reason enough for a rating system, and reason enough for a compulsory one. Gongs on mantle pieces are just a variation of fashion. The system is the point, not the ratings

    If the size of the problem and that of the response to global warming driven climate change doesn't get through to more people soon there really will come a day when there is no tomorrow and the tide will stop going in and out, not because they literally will, but because there will be no more animate life on earth to see it happen.
  • peter_j
    edited January 1970
    If this thread reads a bit strangely to some, it may be because many of the posts have been shifted to form a new topic "wage fixing" which you'll find here:

    Moderating moderately,
  • simon seasons
    edited January 1970
    Thank you Peter. it does read a bit more clearly actually, but then i am biased. I was on inhabitat yesterday and a Mr Mark Wigley, the new dean of architecture at Columbia University has some interesting things to say that would add to this thread and others. Might even cheer up hairdresser!
  • hairdresser
    edited January 1970
    mr. wigley is a theoretician.

    theory has its place.

    so do concepts.

    - australian architects make their claims re ESD in theory.

    The current house rating system is an example.

    It is a rating in theory - since there is no post construction testing to validate.

    Green star is a little different.

    Buildings can fail to achieve the theoretical rating that is aimed for on the basis of a verification of sorts - but there is still no post occupancy evaluation/testing.

    eg.In Germany the building envelope is pressure tested and certified for continuity and integrity. Similarly in the UK this now occurs for commercial buildings.

    I will be an optimist SS, when architects in australia, along with building companies and the tradespeople who put these buildings together, stop dealing in the theoretical, the abstract, their wisdom and their claims (such as yours and the past presidents) and submit to this kind of rigour and prove their "green" ideas.
  • simon seasons
    edited January 1970
    Quite agree HD.
    There is 'archicentre' putting forward a submission very soon to a Victorian Govt body the gist of which has been posted by Beatriz in AFP forum. I read it myself in the Sunday Age and i too am becoming optomistic that perhaps, German and UK style certification regimes will be introduced by Rudd on a national level.
    That would be good. In fact it would be stupendous.
    When you say Australian architects make claims re ESdesign. What generally are the claims being made, besides the ex pres' one of irrelevance?

    You say "theory has its place". I worry that you mean 'At the back of the que'
    I assert that theoreticians and policy makers are essential to the process of getting what you express is desireable. Do you perhaps mean the theory divorced from reality that i would call "ART man". That seemingly impenetrable bullshit designed to confabulate any but the asstute critic. Impenetrable it is and it should definately go to the back of a que.

    However, I am talking of theory and claim and consepts that, like science, are tested by the reality that is climate change. Staring that horror down should clear a few navel gazers off the debating teams and the sooner the better.

    BUT, I can't see anyone taking up the cause in the housing industry without sound policy reasoning backing up legislation. My bark is that much of the science and technical theory has already been done, contrary to mass public perception in this country, seemingly induced by the fact that a lot of it originated from people of the political left and is therefore rather stupidy ignored as worthless hippie twaddle. In my book the next stage that needs work is the widespread application of political theory to the task of getting people to except that it exists and is anything but irrelavent. Let alone the problems of policing it and using it.

    I noted in Beatriz's post that some 90 plus % of construction activity in Australia doesn't have an architect involved at any level. I assert that architecture schools need a major jerk off the track they're on re post modernist egotistical codswallop for those lamentable figures to look more like the european figures.
    I haven't the facts before me and so it is a claim, though having lived in Europe for five years (UK and Germany) and having heard recent anecdotal evidence from european people here, i am prepared to make it, that european architectural involvement is something like the complete reverse of Australia.

    In which case, is it any wonder that UK and Germany have such laws about post construction certification? This country need a much stronger level of respect for architects and the knowlege that they could bring to the problem of global warming and frankly warming or not, the problem of living decently in an efficient house. That is not going to happen unless architects take a good hard look at themselves a little bit further up than the belly button and get organised. Architect need to find a voice, if not for their future job prospects, then at least for that of their children.

    I think that that needs more theory i am afraid to say, lots of it and of a differant sort to navel gazing egoism. The ART actually has a lot to offer if the ART got past the egoistic childness that so much clouds the issue and was actually a response to the reality we all face. How are we going to house the generations of the future without destroying their ability to even eat at the kitchen table. Architect have the answer in front of them, they only need to pick up the books and get off the know all attitudes and do something about the position they seem to have allowed the 'great developers' to occupy in this country.
    For instance. how many architects are on the board of the Housing Industry Association?
  • hairdresser
    edited January 1970
    your point?

    in 10 words or less.

    .......and a simple question (yes or no).

    Do you agree that buildings should be tested post occupancy in relation to ESD performance?
  • simon seasons
    edited January 1970
    My barber's a man of few words too.
    Yes of course I agree with post occupancy testing in relation to ESdesign performance.

    A prerequisite however. ESdesign be made compulsory for all new structures. A minimum refit standard of five star be applied to existing structures.
    OOps sorry more than ten words.

    If that's not clear try revisiting what I have written in more detail elsewhere. I may have covered more ground than you can handle but i don't see the point in abridged versions. Readers digest has that covered. I may even be verbose but i don't see the point in soundbites either. I don't think any of this will be quick and easy. I therefore rabbit on, i know, sorry and hope you get the energy to revisit what i have said because i sense from what you don't respond to that you may have skimmed over a lot of what i've written about. Your prerogative.

    My best wishes to your sentiments that i have addressed in my second sentance above. I whole heartedly agree with them. Yes not enough is done to rigirously test claims of greeness made by Architects and indeed mainly by developers. I think i may have said it somewhere else, where my point was that such errant nonsense has to do with being fashion conscious to the point of pirating standards that others voluntarily achieve without fanfare. Didn't you say much the same elsewhere? And then didn't i say ..........
  • hairdresser
    edited January 1970
    Bluster, propaganda, personal convictions, old wives tales, bush philosophy, homilies, sermons, received wisdom, established principles should be avoided in advancing meaningful ESD research and application. Scientists are the people to look to if you need a model for how to conduct yourself.

    Hypothesis, Experiment, Evaluation, Conclusion followed by publishing and peer scrutiny.

    One thing in relation to Robin Boyd.
    The buildings in many cases still contain large amounts of asbestos.
    Need anything else be said as to the "wisdom" of the past.
    Large single glazed facades simply don't perform in a temperate climate whether they are pointed north or not.

    What you say is a principle might be validated or debunked with mathematical modelling. (Step1). Step 2 is to validate the modelling through post occupancy testing and assessment.

    My point at the start of this thread was to show that the claims of a former president, like most of the profession make trivial an extremely difficult problem. And that his approach had resulted in reality in buildings which did not live up to their ambitious claims.

    Though you feel that you agree with me - your posts clearly indicate that you are in fact the very thing I disagree with. Your views and understanding are last century.
  • simon seasons
    edited January 1970
    "Sustainability was a theme across all the categories, and has quickly become embedded in the core practice of architecture, with its rapid "mainstreaming". The Jury considers that the seperated category for sustainability may have built in obselescence - which, paradoxically, represents a kind of victory."

    Yes a kind of victory. IT may need assesment and peer review and more research but it is imperiative that the concept of ESdesign be once again broadly accepted, amongst architects in this country who represent, as contributing participants, about ten percent of all built structures in this country, That is a victory that you say has been declared too early to be credible. Yes again I agree.

    The problem is not with the acceptance of ESdesign amongst architects. it seems it is with the application of it. Yes maybe they don't know what they are doing and more training is needed, but the information is already there about how to do it. It exists like gravity exists.

    ESdesign does not need hypothesizing because it is already proved to exist. It can only benefit from more evaluation and experiment like anything else, but propoganda got rid of it in the first place and you can do 80% of the research work by looking in a hundred year old american farmers almanacs, and doing a world tour of construction methods in any villiage enviroment that did without electricity for a thousand years.

    Amongst the housing industry ascosiation mob ESdesign is still largely regarded as suspect hippie shit. WHY?
    Because General Electric invented the airconditioner and recieved wisdom got chucked out with practical eave overhangs and buried under the slabs of a million brick veneereals. That is fashion, not practical consideration, did away with ESdesign.

    Have you heard of the thermal stack, otherwise known as a chimney that is the effect of a column of air moving up or down in relation to ambiant and introduced pressures at either end of the stack. The ancient Egyptians used it as do many modern Egyptians to cool their houses by placing a water filled earthernware jar near the top of the flue. The evaporation of water through the sides of the jar cooled the surrounding air, which decended in the stack and set up a cool air current running through the house below. A method that has existed as recieved wisdom for a thousand and more years.
    IT EXISTS it does not need to be proved and peer reviewed, it just needs to be generally applied.

    As for how i should conduct myself. I may bluster but i am not a liar therefore and eliminating mistakes is another thing all together from eliminating bluster. It was the propoganda of James Hardie that "used" asbestos in this country and America and i am as passionate about getting rid of such propoganda as i am about getting rid of it where it obscures ESdesign.
    Boyd may not have applied ESdesign as he could have but at least he tried to buck the trend of the time which was to dispense with it all in favour of the new freedom to design as one pleases as long as you can whack a bloody great airconditioner into the picture.
    One more thing need be said of the 'wisdom' of the past as recieved from scientists. The Atomic Bomb. My, that was good idea.

    We have to look further than what scientific hypothesis is capable of because so much is useable from recieved wisdoms and old wives tales. Did you know that aspirin was deduced from an old wives tale about willow bark.
    Don't think that because you calmly submit to peer review that therein lies a 100% of the validity. I know it is important that claims be backed up by fact when it comes to ESdesign, but like any human invention the fact that it is used at all, even ineffectively and falsely, is where the review procees begins.
  • hairdresser
    edited January 1970
    Definitely Not talking peer review.

    Talking post construction/occupancy assessment as part of the certification process for ALL buildings. Talking certification through measurement.
    Talking proof is in the pudding.
    Good enough for Germany good enough for Australia?

    Or will we leave the claims re ESD performance to:
    such forms of peer review as Leon Van Schaik's Architecture Australia review re Lyon's Marine Environment Research Centre in Queenscliff - see first post.
  • simon seasons
    edited January 1970
    Talking with you i think. We might come at it from differant angles and have differant points to put but we want the same thing as far as i am concerned.
    That is meaningful assesment of ESdesign.
    If the MERC in queenscliff slipped through as you describe it is appaling.
    My pointed angle in my last post is that peer review will be irrelevant in the future compared to the normal processes of acceptance and improvement upon the applications of ESdesign.
    For example, the BCA used to specify strip footings that were in essence elongated pad footings. builders and designers had tipped them on their side to produce the modern beam like strip footing long before the BCA caught up with the innovation and amended the code.
    The same will happen for ESdesign and when that happens MERC at queencliff will join the laughing stock along with all the other bogus claims.

    My other main beef was that the introduction of the code for ESdesign would do well by being compulsorily introduced to force the current HIA to make the nessecary changes where architects at present don't have any influence.

    My next main beef was that architects would do well to take up the cause of ESdesign in ernest because eventually it will have to be compulsory and why wait around for others less qualified to take up all the work, dispense all the knowlege and take all the cudos.

    In agreeance with you again i think, the navel gazer brigade have had their time and they'd better move over and let realists take the stage, because the world, our world and future existance needs them to do so. Best wishes
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