Wellbeing is at the centre of our design philosophy. Architects quote a mantra "Form follows Function". We take that one step further and say "Form follows Intent". By this we mean that while a kitchen may be a place to prepare food (functionally), it is primarily a place to connect with family and friends, often the heart of the home. We design spaces that are more than just functional - spaces that uplift the soul and set the stage for positive connections with others.
While there is currently a lot of attention on the impact of buildings on the environment, we must also consider the impact of our buildings on our local communities. This may be physical in terms of being well mannered in our contextually appropriate designs, but it also means contributing wherever we can to our local community - we support local businesses before corporates, and run community workshops to share our knowledge.
Energy usage impacts every aspect of the life of a building: how we design the form and orientation of the building for maximising or minimising solar gain; materials and component selection (especially windows); embodied energy in materials we select; energy usage during construction and occupation; energy to demolish and/or re-use. There are many decisions to be made, right up front, as we start the design process.
We select local materials and contractors wherever possible. Not all materials can be locally sourced in New Zealand unfortunately, but we will weigh up the options carefully before arriving at a solution. Sometimes it just requires a higher level of innovation to create an impact with a simple material. Supporting local builds our local economy and keeps suppliers in business.
There are so many building materials to select from, that the process of selection can be mind boggling. We select materials based on a number of criteria. Apart from how well materials perform, we also consider the impact of materials on the environment and on the health of the people using the building - during and post construction
While designing, our primary intent with regards to waste is to eliminate waste to landfill. This can be achieved through the careful selection of materials, reduction of construction waste (off-cuts, packaging), and even through on site waste treatment for larger projects. It all starts at concept design though. Our best opportunity to minimise waste is to incorporate it into our design and procurement strategy right up front.