In this issue of Element we profile three projects – houses in Grey Lynn and on Waiheke Island, and a quirky summer shelter on Great Barrier Island. They are all winners in this year’s Auckland Architecture Awards – and they all have something to say abou
Sustainable design is one of the mantras of our time. Doubting its importance is about as intellectually respectable as believing that the earth is flat or that it is orbited by the sun. But there’s a suspicion that, sometimes, those making sustainable claims protest too much. Why are they making such a big deal about it? Surely, as we head further into the second decade of the twenty-first century, sustainability should be as unexceptional a quality of buildings as the classical triumvirate of “firmness, commodity and delight”?
Well, not yet, it seems.
It’s fair to say that not all architects agree that sustainability should be a criterion for commendation – again, shouldn’t it be normal? – but most accept that a bit of positive discrimination serves an evangelistic purpose. Sustainable design is still a cause that needs its champions.
Given that some architects may feel ambivalent about picking out sustainability for special mention, how do the principles of sustainable design inform their work? Together, three residential projects that won awards in the NZIA’S recently announced 2011 Auckland Architecture Awards provide some indication of the spectrum of contemporary architectural responses to the question of sustainable design.