Environment (previously EDG, the Environment Design Guide) celebrates 25 years in publication this year! Initially established as a resource for built environment design practitioners, 25 years on Environment continues to promote sustainable design practice for the profession through its database of over 175 peer-reviewed notes. From BEDP to EDG to Environment, the publication has transitioned from separate subscription to included member benefit; from print to CD-ROM to online digital and its more recent integration with Acumen Practice Notes. In meeting this milestone, we thank the many authors, peer reviewers, members and editors who have contributed along the way.
To celebrate, we have dived into our collection to highlight case study material featuring details and projects ranging from the micro scale of a building feature to buildings, process and the urban form. We summarise the results of our recent survey and hear reflections from our past editors. More than ever, environmental sustainability in the built environment has become an integral part of architectural practice in meeting community expectations. We hope you enjoy exploring and revisiting our collection of both new and legacy Environment content now and into the future.
Belinda Strickland, National Editor Knowledge Services
Launched in print in February 1995 by the Natural Environment and Energy Group of the Institute’s NSW Chapter, the group was chaired by David Baggs and comprised John Ballinger, Nigel Bell, Gareth Cole, John Gelder, Mahalath Halperin, Neal Mortensen, Harry Partridge, Caroline Pidcock, Jason Veale, Tim Waldock, Garry Wallace and the late Bill Lawson. In a nice full circle, founding members Caroline Pidcock and John Gelder are members of the current Environment Advisory Group*.
* The Environment Advisory Group is currently comprised of Caroline Pidcock (Chair, NSW), Paul Barnett (ACT), Patrick Denell (Tas), John Gelder (SA), Noy Hildebrand (Vic) and Carolyn Marshall (WA).
2020 Survey results
We thank participants of our recent Environment survey conducted from September to October 2020. A summary of the results revealed:
- Three quarters of respondents rated the content quality and topic breadth of Environment notes as useful to extremely useful;
- We have some loyal readers with almost one third of respondents indicating using Environment for more than 10 years;
- Measuring its impact on the profession, 87% of respondents nominated that Environment has ‘Provided some or moderate impact’ through to ‘Contributed to elevating the importance of sustainable design for the profession over the past 25 years’;
- Top areas nominated for further guidance included adaptive reuse, carbon neutral or zero carbon design, case studies, climate responsive design, educating clients, life-cycle assessment, materials and technologies.
In response to the survey findings, we aim to bring you a new series of recent exemplar case studies in 2021. In the meantime, explore some of our highlighted material in the case studies section below.
In addition to our case studies collection of residential, commercial and educational projects, many of our recent notes integrate case studies and illustrated concepts. A selection of these notes is featured below:
- Architecture’s role in the repair of the natural environment – features three of the exhibited projects presented at the Australian Pavilion for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale; includes an exploration of the integrated green roof of native ‘meadow’ in Prince Alfred Park and Pool to create an environment for biodiversity
- Biophilic design: an introduction for designers – both international and local case studies explored, including an overview of biophilic design features employed in the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre, University of Wollongong
- Designing to heal: post-disaster rebuilding to assist community recovery – part B designing a process and product for recovery – examines the process and outcomes of the Re:START transition project in Christchurch’s city centre
- Designing user-friendly passive buildings – provides a post-occupancy case study analysis of three building typologies: a school, community and office building, examining learnings from each project to apply to user engagement strategies
- Heat stress resistant residential design in Australia – illustrates and describes the concept of a cool retreat for residential application
- Optimising environmental performance using building performance simulation – explores how dynamic thermal simulation (energy modelling) and daylight simulation methods were applied to the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)
- Passivhaus: the pathway to low energy buildings in Australasia – case studies include the refurbished Monash Facilities and Services Division, Research Way, Monash University
- Regenerative development through LENSES with a case study of Seacombe West – highlights the Seacombe West project in Victoria, where regenerative development and the facilitative process of the LENSES framework were used to guide the master planning process
- The climate-adaptive vernacular architecture of Asia-Pacific – exploration of examples of climate-adaptive strategies from the Asia-Pacific region, ranging from urban form to building form to details, as transferrable to the Australian context
- Water conservation and harvesting in Adelaide, SA: four case studies – discusses stormwater harvesting and reuse features and strategies deployed at Christie Walk, an inner-city, community-based ecological development
We acknowledge the work of our past editors who we invited to share their recollections as below. We also acknowledge the contribution of former editor Lorina Nervegna who was unable to contribute to this piece at this time.
As an architect on hiatus, I enjoyed digesting news and events for other built environment designers, flagging links to topics – like air quality, climate change and retrofits – to things architects can think about and do in their practice. Highlights for me of that time included engaging with the National Sustainability Committee in drafting the Integrated Sustainability Policy and attending the amazing regional conference AusIndoArch, which I recapped here. (Noy Hildebrand, Editor 2013 to 2015)
It was a great privilege to publish EDG, and to work with its wonderfully talented staff and contributors. And I’m delighted that as Environment it remains a key part of the Institute’s mission. Its incorporation into Acumen is a logical and timely evolution, reflecting sustainable design’s journey from the periphery to the core of architectural practice. Here’s to the next 25 years! (Michael Day, Editor 2010 to 2013)
Emerging from mountains of envelope stuffing for the quarterly paper-version mail-out, and piles of older CD-ROMs versions – EDG finally became an online only publication. EDG evolved, but stayed true to its founding purpose: to resource practitioners to forge real change. The long-hours editors spend pale against the work of the phenomenal EDG authors and reviewers. Like one reviewer who was about to fly to Europe for his wedding remarked “well … I’ll have 16 hours to review the paper on the flight”! (Scott Willey EDG Managing Editor, 2007– 2010)
It was an honour to guide EDG during a time when it had a broad cross-disciplinary focus. Now, more than ever, we understand that sustainable design is a collaborative process. 25 years ago, EDG was the inspired project of a group of architects who were trail blazers in sustainability long before this ethos entered mainstream thinking. Decades later, EDG through the RAIA, has helped many people seeking to practice an ecologically thoughtful and respectful approach to architecture. (Natasha Palich, Editor 1999 to 2002)
Environment, available on Acumen Practice Notes, is an included benefit for A+, Member level 1, Affiliate Level 1, Graduate and Student members.