‘Speed Date a Sustainable Designer,’ A Sanctuary Magazine Project

Sanctuary Magazine/Promo image

Embarrassingly, the current issue of Sanctuary Magazine is now out. The red face belongs to me, certainly not the magazine, as I still haven’t finalise my review of the previous issue (no.17), which contained absolutely oodles of information on how to ecofy your kitchen design or renovation.

Sanctuary’s tagline is “Modern Green Homes,” a subject it handles with much verve. (And with heaps more timeliness than this correspondent).

The lush imagery (unusual, of an architecture journal, because it shows actual people inside the dwellings) is complemented by readable and informative text. Even the adverts reveal a wide breadth of unusual housing products, like high R-value wall insulation suitable for retrofitting existing dwellings to grid-connect solar systems that sport a battery back-up arrangement.

Budding home owners and renovators can connect with green housing experts through free design workshops, Q&As, and not forgetting their intriguing event known as Speed Date a Sustainable Designer. Here lucky entrants get to personally bail up eco architects and building designers with their plans, sketches and ideas for free professional advice.

Sanctuary magazine/Promo image

But the guts of the magazine is its profiles of homes that strive to significantly lessen their environmental impact.

In the current issue (No. 18) there’s a reverse brick veneer (RVB) home that achieves a very impressive 9.1 energy efficiency rating. (Most new homes get excited, if they approach 6 stars!) RVB is the opposite of what Australian expect for their homes. It puts the brick on the inside, where it’s thermal mass is hidden from the searing Aussie sun by well insulated lightweight external cladding. In winter the brick’s heat retaining qualities soak up any internal heat source. Other unusual touches include doors on the stairwell to adjust the chimney effect of warm air flowing upstairs, a planned joint backyard with neighbours to incorporate chickens and vegetable plots. Adding life to the commonly sterile world of architectural review, the owners reveal that they since moving they’ve decided to add privacy blinds to the double glazed (floor to ceiling ) doors, and how the opening and closing of doors and windows to effect so-called passive ventilation is an art that requires education and diligence.

Also showcased is First Light, the house created by 27 students from New Zealand’s Victoria University of Wellington. That of itself would be noteworthy, yet the Uni entered their design in the US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon competition and came within just one point of standing on the winner podium. Prefabricated into six transportable modules the home has since return back to New Zealand from the States and become a private residence. See links to the left of previous TreeHugger coverage of the Solar Decathlon, or go direct to First Light home.

Elsewhere in the current issue of Sanctuary magazine, can be a found an architect’s fondness for strawbale buildings, who praises the material not only for its eco building characteristics but also for its ample acoustic qualities. Paul Downton goes on to note that strawbale is “an adaptive and responsive construction medium that has much potential still to be realised in modern building design and sustainable development.”

At just shy of a 100 pages Sanctuary mag is rich with eco design information, such as greener finishes for timber and concrete, choosing the correct rainwater tank, avoiding condensation in modern, well sealed homes and Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs).

Sanctuary magazine

Tags: Architecture | Australia | Designers | Energy Efficiency