Archive 2012

Who Says Sustainability and Business Are Not Compatible?


On 9 August, many AAA supporters attended a free talk organised by InHouse Group 3, at the Cervantes Institute. The talk was presented by Actiu, an European Manufacturer of equipment for public and work spaces.

The speaker from Actiu, Soledad Berbegal Roque showcased their headquarters as a successful case study of how businesses can incorporate sustainability into their operations.   The Actiu Technology Park, designed by Jose Maria Tomas Llavador, has emphasised sustainability right from the beginning. With the maximisation of natural light in the design, the development is self sufficient by having the largest photovoltaic plant in Europe.  The plant produces more than five times the energy needed for its uses and prevents emissions of up to 8250 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.  Rainwater collected from the roofs is used for irrigation with large-scale planting of low-water-consumption native trees. The Actiu Technology Park was awarded with a LEED Gold Certificate by the US Green Building Council.

AAA member Guy Whitehead was lucky enough to win the lucky door prize, a TNK500 executive chair.  After the talk, most of the attendees stayed for delicious tapas, sangria and paella before calling it a night.



Women: Take On Design Talk – Heather Whitely Robertson


Heather_Whiteley_Photo_suppliedByHWhitelyRobertsonThis week the third presenter for the Women: Take On Design Talk Series is Heather Whitely Robertson. Heather is the current Head Of Creative Learning at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). She is responsible for driving the strategic development of learning programs for the MCA's new National Centre for Creative Learning (NCCL).

Heather joined the MCA in 2011 after working for arts and design institutions such as the Victoria and Albert Museum London, Open House London, the Tate Modern London, and the National Gallery of Victoria.

Heather's talk will explore the implications of design in creating learning environments 
within cultural institutions.

Book online now...

Women: Take On Design Talks 1 and 2

2012 has been a year where the design industry both locally and abroad, has increasingly recognised the issues of equity and equality for women. In response to this issue, Australian Architecture Association volunteer Vanessa Couzens, proposed a short series of talks that focused on the achievements of some of the women working in the design and architecture community based in Sydney. Last month saw the launch of Women: Take On Design at Object: Australian Centre for Design in Surry Hills. 1208C1

The first talk on Wednesday 18 July presented the work of Lucy Humphries and Claire McCaughan of Archrival. These two young architects are spearheading a revolution in the approach to design practice, proposing that collaboration and letting go of ideas about individual ‘authorship' is a direction that new design practices can embrace to create individual and relevant projects for the public. Their unique approach to design has been recognised by an invitation to contribute an installation to the Venice Architecture Biennale, which this year is themed ‘Common Ground' and takes place in Italy from 29 August to 25 November 2012.


Claire and Lucy began their talk with an overview of their individual installations completed before forming Archrival. They then showcased some of the collaborative projects they have co-ordinated such as Eleventh Hour, an installation at Carriageworks developed for the Sydney Fringe Festival 2011 and Concrete Colony an installation at the Keystone Bar Hyde Park Barracks for the Sydney Festival 2012.

They concluded their talk with an explanation about the thinking behind their submission for the ‘Formations' exhibition in the Australian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Entitled Arena Calcetto, the work seeks to draw together collaborators using a playful theme based on fussball (the tabletop game and sport). Archrival proposed that a series of architectural structures enclose fussball tables with the fabrication of it's elements involving a variety of people. Playing also on their organisations name they have invited rivalry between biennale participants forming teams for their countries!

I think all attendees would agree that Archrival's talk inspired us to think a little more laterally about design and how architectural thought can create temporary spaces that challenge our perceptions and are functional at the same time.


Talk 2 of Women: Take On Design took place on Wednesday 25 July and featured the architect Caroline Pidcock. Caroline is an award winning architect and has run her own practice PIDCOCK - Architecture and Sustainability, since 1992. Inspired by The Climate Project, Al Gore's Climate Change Leadership Program, Caroline has taken up the challenge and is dedicated to the design of zero emissions housing.

Caroline's talk focused on an approach to design based on the International Living Future Institute‘s ‘Living Building Challenge'. The living building challenge is a combination of philosophy, advocacy and certification program. While there are already organisations such as the Green Building Council and certification schemes such as Green Star, LEEDs and BREEAM, that have been advancing the sustainable building culture, the Living Building Challenge seeks to take environmentally sustainable buildings a step further.


Caroline gave an overview in her talk of the tenants of the challenge, which is represented thematically by the petals of a flower. Each petal represents seven performance areas: Site, Water, Energy, Health, Materials, Equity and Beauty. These are subdivided into a total of twenty Imperatives, each of which focuses on a specific sphere of influence.

Ultimately the Living Building Challenge provides a framework for design, construction and the symbiotic relationship between people and all aspects of the built environment.


Caroline concluded her talk with some examples of her past work and an overview of a project she is currently developing in Taree where she is applying the tenants of the Living Building Challenge and plans to attain certification by the Living Future Institute.

If you are interested in learning more about the Living Building Challenge you can attend free public lectures by Jason F. McLennan of the Living Future Institute in Perth, Wednesday 22 August, Adelaide, Friday 24 August, Melbourne, Monday 27 August and Sydney, Wednesday 29 August 2012. Click on to register for a lecture.

Caroline Pidcock presented attendees with an alternative more holistic approach to the design of our built environment. It will be very interesting to see how this environmental movement will impact positively on our lives.

The Australian Architecture Association would like to thank Caroline Pidcock, Lucy Humphries and Claire McCaughan for contributing to the Women: Take On Design Talks Series. Their presentations were very inspirational and highlight how important it is to celebrate the achievements and future of women working within design.

Article: Vanessa Couzens

Photographs: Soo Kim and Vincent Lam
Images from Talks: Provided by Caroline Pidcock and Archrival

AAA Volunteer Profile: Luisa Manfredini

Luisa Manfredini is one of the Australian Architecture Association's founding volunteers and has played an instrumental role in the research and development of some of the association's core architectural tours. She enjoys the opportunity the Australian Architecture Association provides to learn about her city, contemporary architecture and network with architectural enthusiasts.

Luisa graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of NSW in the early 1990's. She gained experience in residential, commercial, institutional and infrastructure architecture over the following years in the architectural practices of Johann Wuhrer, Denton Corker Marshall (Sydney) and Sandberg Schoffel. In 2000 she struck out on her own and formed the practice Luisa Brigida Manfredini architect.

It was through the Australian Architecture Association that Luisa met her husband David McCrae, who was also a volunteer for the AAA. In 2011 they set up practice together as Manfredini McCrae Architects. Their practice is currently focused primarily on residential design.


In October 2009 one of Luisa's projects ‘Coogee House' was included in the AAA's Eastern Suburbs Residential Bus Tour. The addition and alterations to this California Bungalow house included a new first floor, rear ground floor, pool and garage. The clients wanted the alterations to have a clean contemporary feel that wouldn't detract from the original residence's period features. The house was also published in ‘Houses' magazine, Issue 70; October 2009.





A more recent work by Luisa Manfredini and David McCrae is ‘Fairlight House', which was entered into this year's Australian Institute of Architects Awards. The project comprised additions and alterations to a modest weatherboard semi-detached workers cottage built in the 1920s and typical of the timber cottages in the Fairlight area.

The residence retained little significant original features beyond it's original façade and the clients wanted the interior alterations and additions to have a simple open layout that had a light filled contemporary feel.

The front façade was retained and period features were reinstated to existing front rooms. New additions at ground floor level provided an open plan kitchen living space that spills out into a courtyard garden. At first floor level the roof line was extended to enclose a home office and two bedrooms.





While Manfredini McCrae architects are rebuilding their website, see some of Luisa and David's work at their Facebook Page.

Article: Vanessa Couzens
Photographs: Fairlight House - Brian Steele / Coogee House - Murray Fredericks


Survey On Women and Architecture


The website Parlour: Women, Equity, Architecture, is seeking women who are, or have in the past, worked within the architectural industry. ‘Where Do All the Women Go?' is the first in a series of surveys seeking to give a more nuanced picture of the role women play in architecture, both in Australia and abroad.

Click here to take part in the survey.