Archive 2011

Congratulations to Domenic Alvaros of Woods Bagot

1112d1This years World Architecture Festival recognised the design excellence of Domenic Alvaros , Principal at Woods Bagot in Sydney, with the award of the World House of the Year 2011.

Located in Surry Hills, Alvaros' design, completed in August 2010, proposes an alternative housing prototype, that builds upwards rather then outwards. Built on reclaimed urban space, this residence has a foot print no bigger then the average suburban garage (7m x 6m), yet gives generous spaces to it's occupants (205sqm).

The spaces in the house are designed using zones. At ground level is located, spaces for utility, parking, bicycle and general storage. The first floor is for sleeping and bathroom facilities. The second floor is living space. The third floor is for food preparation, dining and entertainment. Finally at roof level is a garden terrace.

The stair void that links all the zones in the house assists in the natural flow of air between the levels and large sliding windows allow abundant daylighting and natural ventilation, while framing city views.

See more photos at the Woods Bagot website.

For a real insight into the design and construction of the building check out Grand Designs Australia, Series 1, Episode 2.

AAA Launches a New Series of Talks


The AAA is trialling a new series of talks that give an insight into aspects of design. These talks have been designed to appeal to anyone interested in learning more about the techniques and technology employed in various sectors of the design industry.

The CPD Talks Series will also be of interest to Architects. Each of our talks will accrue 1 formal CPD point toward your yearly requirement of Continuing Professional Development points for the Architects Registration Board for NSW.

On Wednesday 30 November, TCW (Tables Chairs & Workstations), in Alexandria, hosted the first of the AAA's CPD Talks Series, in association with In House Design Group 3. Our first talk, presented by Guy Briguglio of Opal Lighting, was on Energy Efficient Lighting.


Guy began his talk by demystifying some of the terminology and measures used in the lighting design industry. He then went on to explain the various lamp types that are currently being used in energy efficient lighting design. Guy also explained how the efficiency of lamps are affected by the fittings they are placed within and how testing is critical in achieving the right atmosphere in your designs.

Of great interest to attendees, were his observations on how technology is progressing the efficiency of existing lighting types. He also gave an overview on some of the new technology that is being developed in places like Japan and the United States. It appears that the next five to ten years will see some very exciting developments in lighting design, particularly in lights that utilise OLED (Organic Light-emitting diode) technology.

If you missed our first CPD Talk, we more scheduled to take place in 2012, with topics such as home automation, green walls and green roofs and using LinkedIn. The next one will take place in February and announcements about the dates for CPD Talks will be avaiable in the new year.

Annoucing New Programs: Why 2012 is the Year to be a Member


The AAA has an exciting program of events in store for 2012. If you haven't done so already, now is the time to renew, or become a member of the Australian Architecture Association.

The AAA is very excited to announce that 2012 sees the return of the Black Talk Series. Plans are under way to provide public lectures by International Architects who will be showcasing some of their work from overseas.

We also have some fascinating Short Black: Architects in Their Space talks, coming up, with the first beginning in February.

The AAA will be launching three new architectural walks in 2012, along with some changes to our regular program of architectural walks.

What benefits do you get from becoming a member?

  • Free admission to all walking tours.
  • 25% off 1 ticket to Black Talks featuring international architects.
  • Reduced admission to Short Black Talks, seminars and many other tours.
  • Receive our regular e-newsletter.
  • Enjoy our Members' Benefits Program, including discounted AAA merchandises, special price for select eClassroom CPD courses, and subscriptions to leading architectural magazines: Architectural Review Australia, Houses and Luxury Home Design.
  • Seniors and students enjoy substantial discount to the annual membership rate.

How much does it cost to become a member?

  • Individual Membership - $165
  • Senior Individual Membership - $75
  • Student Individual Membership - $75

Did you know you can now join the AAA online? It's as easy as clicking on this link.

Why not share the benefits with your employees and become a corporate member? We have different levels of corporate membership. For more information, contact the AAA today! Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Even More Benefits for AAA Members

1112a1The AAA is proud to announce further benefits for its members. All our members are now eligible for a reduced subscription rate to Architecture Media's Houses magazine.

Houses magazine is about good design for living. Its pages reveal the way that a house, through occupation, becomes a home, the architectural ideas, and the people behind them, including detailed floor plans and product lists.

Just in time for Christmas, AAA members have an exclusive opportunity to subscribe to Houses and receive 8 issues for the price of 6, a saving of more than $27 (or 29%) from the cover price.

So treat yourself or friend to 16 months of the best residential architecture at just $68 for Australian delivery.

To subscribe, follow this link:

To secure the extended subscription offer, AAA members will need a special code to be put in the notes area.  We will send this code out to all AAA members in a separate email shortly.



External Shot (Photo by Vincent Lam)

Lumenhaus was designed and built by a research program at Virginia Tech as a "solar house" integrating architecture and technology.  In 2010, it became the winner of the International Solar Decathlon Competition in Madrid.  It has been on a travelling exhibition in various American cities, including Washington and Chicago.  I was lucky enough to be able to go through it in detail while I was visiting Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House as a day trip from New York.

The grounds of Farnsworth House is the most appropriate site to house this experimental building because the design of the Lumenhaus was inspired by the glass house.  Like Farnsworth, the north and south walls are all glass to maximise view and sunlight for the occupants, the layouts of both houses feature a central core of utilities with circulation either side.


Solar panels over entrance double up as awning (Photo by Vincent Lam)

The name "Lumenhaus" was derived from "lumen" which means "the power of light" and "haus", meaning house or home in German but more importantly, refer to the Bauhaus movement and architect Mies van der Rohe.

Lumenhaus has a very small footprint with a rectangular open plan.  With the large amount of glass, the transperant house merges into its environment seamlessly and feels very generous.  Fortunately, the extreme heat load in summer is controlled by the fully automated Eclipsis System.  The sliding layers of screens response to weather conditions outside to balance energy efficiency with user comfort.  It is a zero-energy home completely powered by the sun.


Bed becomes a sofa during the day (Photo by Vincent Lam)

The entry to the house is in the middle, once inside one can either go to the bedroom at the left or the living / kitchen to the right.

Furniture was designed to be multi-function, the bed can become a sofa during the day while the kitchen bench can become a bar, offering flexibity of use and minimising the floor area / space required. As a result this small house can support functions of a much larger residence.

The modular design means that the house itself is very flexible. Multiple units can be connected to create houses with different numbers of bedrooms to adapt to the owners' changing needs.

For more information about visit the official website and also take a look at this video on youtube!

- Vincent Lam


Living & kitchen opening out to the green (Photo by Vincent Lam)