Welcome to the August 2003 newsletter for Design Forward.
Please take some time to enjoy this month's features.
Quote of the Month: "We must take bold and unequivocal
action: we must make the rescue of the environment the
central organizing principle for civilization . . .
we are now engaged in an epic battle to right the balance
of our earth; the tide of this battle will turn only
when the majority of people become sufficiently aroused
by a shared sense of urgent danger to join an all-out
effort. It is time to come to terms with exactly how
this can be accomplished" - Al Gore, Former Vice President
Building Design Philosophy
Sustainable design balances human needs (rather
than human wants) with the carrying capacity of
the natural and cultural environments. It minimizes
environmental impacts, it minimizes importation
of goods and energy as well as the generation of
waste. The ideal situation would be that if development
was necessary, it would be constructed from natural
sustainable materials collected onsite, generate
its own energy from renewable sources such as solar
or wind, and manage its own waste.
Sustainable design is an ecosystematic approach
that demands an understanding of the consequences
of our actions. As a tool to understanding this
principle, a metaphoric example is drawn using
an organism to symbolize functional appropriateness,
habitat harmony, and survival based on adaptation
and cultivation. The organism makes use of immediately
and locally available materials to construct itself,
and does so with economy and efficiency. The same
strategies when used in development can minimize
global and local impacts on resources.
The organism adapts to its environment through
instinctive reaction and an evolutionary process
of generations. Through the ability to rationalize
and mechanize, humans have the ability to adapt
psychologically and physically in a matter of
hours, but with little instinct for harmony with
the environment. The organism maintains a harmonious
relationship with its environment by establishing
a balance between its needs and available resources.
Similarly, the ecologically sensitive design adjusts
demands, lifestyles, and technologies to evolve
a compatible balance with the natural and cultural
systems within its environment.
Published by the National Park Services, Guiding
Principles of Sustainable Design. Article & Picture
Design Principles... »
Looking for a unique gift that is good for the world
too? Eco-Artware is a company dedicated to the environment
and the creative reuse and recycle of just about
everything. The artists of Eco-Artware salvage bits
and pieces and create beautiful art and everyday
items for every budget. Find their products for
sale on the web.
Picture © Eco-Artware.
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Design Forward works toward promoting Sustainable
Design. If you know of a project that should be
featured, please contact us. Let us know why you
think it should be featured and give us a basic
intro to the project, the sustainable elements and
any websites or contact information.
If you would like to submit a fun and/or entertaining
quote about architecture, building, or such, send
it in! If it at all possible, include the author.
If you have any other feedback concerning this
publication, please feel free to send an email
or use the form.
House That Mike and Heather Built...
Mike Mobbs, a Sydney environmental lawyer, and his
lawyer wife Heather Armstrong wanted to renovate
their house - to expand their kitchen and make a
bit more living space for the two kids. But when
they sat down to plan the job they decided to build
a house that would be less of a drain on the planet's
resources. Despite living in one of the most densely
populated suburbs in Sydney's inner-west, they dreamed-up
a house that would:
· Collect all its drinking water from the roof
· Generate all of its electricity from the sun
· Process all of its wastewater, including sewage,
These might seem hopelessly optimistic objectives
for a house on a block 35 metres long and 5 metres
wide, but what began as a private experiment a
few years ago is today an example of how a little
ingenuity and perseverance can change a house
from a waste- belching brick box into a self-contained,
sustainable home, without huge sacrifices in lifestyle,
routine or comfort. Mike and Heather's plan was
more than a hippie pipe- dream, and environmental
impact wasn't their only concern. They had a budget
to work to and they didn't want a house that looked,
sounded or smelt "freakish" - it would need to
be resold one day and they couldn't afford to
reduce its market value. It needed to be safe
and hygienic for themselves and their two children,
and they weren't prepared to have weird bits of
equipment constantly breaking down and needing
repair - all the gadgets had to be off-the-shelf,
thoroughly tested technology. Finally, to top-off
their wish list, they wanted to carry out the
renovations without using rainforest timber or
materials that could release toxic chemicals into
Article & Picture © ABC Online
They Did It...