supported by Royal Australian Institute of Architects, Urban Development Institute of Australia & Shaping Mackay

SMART ARSE
Designing for the Tropics - Troppo Architects 1980 - 2004

Troppo Architects Mackay Sustainability The BCA Life and Lifestyle The City Our Cities The Bounded City The Bounded City Apologies...

- 25 years - Climatic context and built response - What is and what is not - Energy Efficiency Provisions - The ‘burbs - What is it? - The problem - The solution - In practice

Troppo
25 years on

ADELAIDE

TOWNSVILLE

BYRON BAY

DARWIN

PERTH

Designing for the Tropics Troppo Architects 1980 - 2004
25 years of housing for the tropics Troppo’s approach: be regionally based be regionally appropriate be a response to climate and local setting promote a sense of place be emotive be dynamic - adjustable connect indoors with out, or outdoors with in be non-constant embrace informality ... Troppo is Australia’s third most awarded practice…ever These fundamental tenets bear little resemblance to current trends

practice. dexterity) Design .Designing for the Tropics Troppo Architects 1980 .2004 Design Current trends in the designing of the built environment refer to: engineering management quality management quality assurance Engineering triple bottom lines risk mitigation legislation worst case scenarios Engineering worlds best practice industry standards safety and security De-humanise the process of the generation of places for people Troppo’s approach to the design of the built environment is based on SKILL (knowledge. understanding. expertness. aptitude.

Designing for the Tropics Troppo Architects 1980 ...2004 Troppo’s approach was originally invoked as a response to the aftermath of the aftermath…of cyclone Tracy Architecture failed to meet any of the criteria that guide troppo’s work Post-Tracy architecture was an engineered box designed for the sole purpose of staying put in a major cyclone. . Flat roof Minimal overhangs Small windows Lots of concrete The box failed on every non-cyclone day Troppo reassessed what made places comfortable for people.

Promotion of cooling breezes …to induce air movement over the body B. A.Designing for the Tropics Troppo Architects 1980 .2004 The Four Principles for Climatically Responsive Housing Benchmark for predicting performance Performance drove an aesthetic. Sheltering of walls and openings …to filter the elements to best effect . Ventilation by convection …to reduce the build up of heat C. Reducing radiation of heat …from building elements to occupants D.

Promotion of cooling breezes .

Ventilation by convection .

Reducing radiation of heat .

Sheltering of walls and openings .

Designing for the Tropics Troppo Architects 1980 . out and around …recognition of a life support system …perceived to offer conditions different to outside …provision for each type of activity. 6. 10. 9. 3. Access Support servicing Physical comfort Space for human activity Heirarchy of privacy Promotion of environmental association Adaptability Promotion of social contact Storage of belongings Promotion of economic determination …ease of movement in. 5. security and accessibility …there is opportunity for creative activities .2004 Ten Patterns of Content Troppo’s work reflected an aspiration to be a part of the place 1. 7. 8. 2. inside and out … different levels of interpersonal contact and intimacy … caring for the surrounding environment …activities are relocated at choice …activities intersect with the activities of others …an hierarchy of display. 4.

occupants and otherwise. the ten patterns of content 2. . and that movement is linked to the respective public routes or paths for movement both on and off site.There is ease of movement in and out of the dwelling by people. There is recognition of a life support system 1.

including wet. and there is no mechanical filtering. There is provision for each type of activity both inside and outside. lounging. the ten patterns of content 4. . intimate and social (and these spaces overlap appropriately) 3. concentrating.The inside can be constantly perceived to offer climatic conditions different to the outside.

either actively or intellectually. 5. . the ten patterns of content There is a caring for the surrounding environment. For best benefit this care will be shown to shared space.There are differing levels of interpersonal contact and intimacy. 6.

and other additional activities can be reasonably accommodated There are social activities with acquaintances.Activities are relocated at choice. the ten patterns of content 8. or personal activities intersect with the activities of others. 7. .

There is opportunity for creative activities.There is an hierarchy of display. . security and accessibility for all consumer belongings. the ten patterns of content 10. 9.

2004 A clear need existed in Darwin in 1980 to readjust public opinion or the understanding of the meaning of the term housing.Designing for the Tropics Troppo Architects 1980 . The engineered response to a single climatic event quite simply failed to deal with the complexities of shelter. . Troppo took on the challenge of reinventing house and the results now speak for themselves.

2004 .Designing for the Tropics Troppo Architects 1980 .

Designing for the Tropics Troppo Architects 1980 .2004 .

Designing for the Tropics Troppo Architects 1980 .2004 .

2004 .Designing for the Tropics Troppo Architects 1980 .

2004 .Designing for the Tropics Troppo Architects 1980 .

Mackay Climatic context and the built response .

Designing for the Tropics The built response to the climate of Mackay
Moderate climate: Warm summer Mild winter Substantial (seasonal) rainfall Significant diurnal shift High humidity (wet season) Clear need for summer design bias Notwithstanding the odd exceptionally hot day the climate of Mackay is highly conducive to a life outdoors Passive design is readily employed to good effect

Designing for the Tropics The built response to the climate of Mackay
Buildings Tropical design techniques should be employed 1. 2. 3. 4. Promotion of cooling breezes Ventilation by convection Reducing radiation of heat Sheltering of walls and openings.

Diurnal variation allows internal thermal mass to assist in moderating extremes The rhythmic rise and fall of ambient temperature from one day to the next can be harnessed, passively, to store either heat or cold

Designing for the Tropics The built response to the climate of Mackay
4.00am Temp. 2.00pm Time Internal temp./ external temp.

Comfort level LIGHT

Designing for the Tropics The built response to the climate of Mackay
4.00am Temp. 2.00pm Time 8.00am Temp. Internal temp./ external temp.

Comfort level LIGHT

Internal temp. Comfort level MEDIUM

6.00pm Time

/ external temp. Internal temp.00am Temp. Internal temp.00pm Time 12. Comfort level LIGHT Internal temp.00pm Time 8. Comfort level MEDIUM 6.00pm MASSIVE . Comfort level Time 10. 2.00pm Temp.00am Temp.Designing for the Tropics The built response to the climate of Mackay 4.

Opportunity Time 2.00pm 10.00pm 7.Designing for the Tropics The built response to the climate of Mackay Buildings should offer a variety of spaces with diminishing degrees of shelter: Mass construction Lightweight Verandah Outdoor (Resistive) (Responsive) (Minimal) (Nil) Occupants choice Temp.00pm Exploit diurnal shift and materials characteristics .

Designing for the Tropics The built response to the climate of Mackay As buildings become closer the lesser degrees of shelter become less relevant: Privacy becomes an issue Mutual shading becomes effective Microclimates are set up (acoustic. visual) (low level sun) More communal living (play a role) The generation of a microclimate plays a more significant role as buildings become closer and together may mitigate climatic effects The city represents a condition where the issues of proximity tend to lead design .

Designing for the Tropics The built response to the climate of Mackay Although microclimate will tend to govern. lightweight elements will still be valuable Upper story ‘vents’ Verandahs Annexes Awnings They will offer different environmental conditions Vertical stacking The microclimate of the street will play the most significant role in dynamic thermal performance in city centres as this will effect all users to varying degrees and will not be controlled by mechanical means Design for amenity of the external environment of the city street is therefore paramount .

etc Water.Designing for the Tropics The built response to the climate of Mackay Amenity refers to a range of characteristics: Thermal comfort Shelter from rain Sun and shade Wind conditions Movement Acoustics Service Stopping spaces Direct connections Microclimatic conditions Continuous is best Continuous shade is best in the tropics Moderate extremes …just movement Traffic noise. etc Passive recreation. seating. at nodal points Pedestrian travel along natural movement paths . rubbish.goat tracks Opportunity to interact with people etc. . recycling.

Sustainability What is sustainable? What is not sustainable? .

. We seem to be of the opinion that we can engineer a solution .What is and what is not After 25 years of designing for climate we face significantly larger challenges. but what is sustainable? More sustainable is un.Designing for the Tropics Sustainability . there are no degrees Urgency has become apparent in only the past 10 years.. but the need for climatically responsive and regionally appropriate built environments remains: Sustainability is now the focus of attention.sustainable Sustainability is steady state Sustainable is sustainable.

Designing for the Tropics NRR Consumption Sustainability ..What is and what is not 0 NOW Time Exponential increase in: •energy demand •population •depletion resources •fossil fuel reliance •habitat depletion •extinctions. ..

Designing for the Tropics NRR Consumption NRR Consumption Sustainability .What is and what is not 0 NOW Time 0 STEP 1 Time Exponential increase in: •energy demand •population •depletion resources •fossil fuel reliance •habitat depletion Linear increase .

What is and what is not NRR Consumption Time STEP 1 0 STEP 2 0 NOW Time 0 Time Exponential increase in: •energy demand •population •depletion resources •fossil fuel reliance •habitat depletion Linear increase Continuing current depletion .Designing for the Tropics NRR Consumption NRR Consumption Sustainability .

Dramatic voluntary change Dramatic involuntary change Moderation is of little use: More sustainable is un.Designing for the Tropics NRR Consumption Sustainability .What is and what is not No more depletion…at all 0 SUSTAINABILITY Time 1.sustainable Sustainability is steady state . 2.

The BCA Energy Efficiency Provisions .

The Building Code of Australia Sustainability in the Australian built environment is being addressed primarily through the Energy Efficiency Provisions of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) The code defines ‘comfort’ levels and limits construction systems and parameters in order to maintain ‘comfort’ with the aid of artificial means The Code currently applies to new residential buildings only Demonstration houses are being commissioned in various regions with the intention of providing publicly accessible examples of good design The Building Code of Australia is the legislative tool for implementation .Designing for the Tropics Addressing Sustainability .

a level of thermal performance to facilitate the efficient use of energy for artificial heating and cooling… . including its domestic services. is to be capable of efficiently using energy.1 Building A building must have.6 To reduce Greenhouse gas emissions. PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENT P 2.Designing for the Tropics The Building Code of Australia . to the degree necessary.6 The Objective is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by efficiently using energy.Energy Efficiency Provisions Part 2. a building. FUNCTIONAL STATEMENT F 2.6 ENERGY EFFICIENCY OBJECTIVE O 2.6.

efficiently use energy The code prescribes: • minimum insulative standards for building elements • maximum allowable glazed area • minimum ‘ventilation opening’ area Utilises computer software to model performance and determine ‘comfort’ and test for compliance with minimum standard legislation R-value %age floor area %age floor area .Energy Efficiency Provisions What does the BCA do? The BCA controls aspects of house design to.Designing for the Tropics The Building Code of Australia . supposedly.

Designing for the Tropics The Building Code of Australia . a level of thermal performance to facilitate the efficient use of energy for artificial heating and cooling… The maximum annual energy load value may be increased by 20MJ/m2 if: A solar hot water supply system having a minimum of 2 solar collectors and a storage capacity of not less than 270 litres is installed to serve the building Square metres? No HWS? . to the degree necessary.Energy Efficiency Provisions Example: Climate Zone 1 A shading projection must be a permanent feature Single clear glass Single clear glass no overhang 2000 overhang 18% of floor area 40% floor area A building must have.

.Designing for the Tropics The Building Code of Australia .Energy Efficiency Provisions What does the BCA not do? reduce materials consumption reduce required infrastructure improve public transport maintain natural heritage encourage building re-use stabilise the housing market enhance social equity maintain historic values improve accessibility reduce car usage improve public health encourage economic stability provide places for people ensure population presence encourage regionalism protect natural public assets etc. ..

Designing for the Tropics The Building Code of Australia ..Energy Efficiency Provisions What does the BCA not do? reduce materials consumption reduce required infrastructure improve public transport maintain natural heritage encourage building re-use stabilise the housing market enhance social equity maintain historic values improve accessibility reduce car usage improve public health encourage economic stability provide places for people ensure population presence encourage regionalism protect natural public assets etc. The code does not deal with ANY aspect of sustainability other than greenhouse gas emission The code does not motivate ..

Designing for the Tropics The Building Code of Australia .Energy Efficiency Provisions Sustainability is a collective responsibility. Oversimplifies a very complex and dynamic issue Is designed for ease of implementation Implies that the house itself is the problem Removes any conscious decision on the part of the community Denies collective recognition of the problem in the first place The code compliance tool (software) is fundamentally flawed (Zone 1) The code simply allows us to purchase a clear conscience The code gives us the impression that we have engineered the solution The code implies that the house is the problem this is not the case Not a single house designed by Troppo prior to the implementation of the code requirements could now legally be built We now spend a great deal of design time trying to mitigate the problems imposed by the code Very short feedback loops are required to motivate sustainability .

Designing for the Tropics The Building Code of Australia .meaningless Minimise maximum The aspiration is only to minimise maximum ambient temperature Outside is inappropriate Climate outside is assumed inappropriate No recognition of physiological response Physiological response is everything .we are human .Energy Efficiency Provisions Hot water service A HWS is assumed and points awarded Ambient temperature Ambient temperature is the yardstick .

Energy Efficiency Provisions No recognition of human desire Preference for being outside for example is ignored Provides exceptions and concessions Poor performance is excepted/accepted Requires that shading projections be permanent An operable house is not properly rewarded (dumb) Does not acknowledge the use of external space as part of a house The value of outdoor living space is diminished Does not allow for the zoning of a building Conditioned and non-conditioned space does not help .Designing for the Tropics The Building Code of Australia .

habitat destruction? The solution dose not lie in the design of individual houses It does not lie in energy efficiency legislation Nor does it lie in a ‘tweaking’ or re-working of our existing housing trends The answer lies in completely reconsidering our ways of life and the resultant or generative patterns of development.Energy Efficiency Provisions How can we achieve dramatic reduction in energy consumption. We must have this debate.Designing for the Tropics The Building Code of Australia . resource depletion. .

Life and Lifestyle the ‘Burbs’ .

Safety.The ‘Burbs ‘Lifestyle’ A marketing term designed to make you buy things . it’s a lifestyle) Bears little relationship to ‘Lifestyle’ The two tend to be mutually exclusive Is a symptom of a ‘lifestyle’ focus. ‘Life’ ‘Consumption’ .a home entertainment system ‘Lifestyle’ is the antithesis of ‘life’ (Th.C .Designing for the Tropics Life and Lifestyle .C.a new car .a new house .

in such an environment..Designing for the Tropics Life and Lifestyle . mono-cultures Economically exorbitant Ecologically catastrophic Socially destructive …but so safe and secure… Relatively speaking. resource hungry.. The thermal performance of individual houses is of no consequence .The ‘Burbs Suburbs universally are sold as offering a lifestyle Our suburbs are typically car-centric.

The ‘Burbs Why do we persist with such forms of development? The feedback loop is far too long. or we choose not to see the real costs of our suburbs Automobile domination Social dislocation Poor service access Environmental degradation Massive infrastructure costs . We do not yet.Designing for the Tropics Life and Lifestyle .

The City What is it? .

Designing for the Tropics The City .What is it? The purpose of the city. A means of promotion of communication and exchange developed over millennia to accommodate human activity .

The City is made up of a number of functional elements: Retail Commercial Residential Industrial Agricultural These elements each have a role to play in a complete city.What is it? A CBD alone is not the City. the city is the sum of these component parts We must get used to designing the whole city as an entity We must allow feedback loops to inform us of our successes and failures .Designing for the Tropics The City .

in particular.it is not! It is a key component of a whole city We mitigate the mutual effects of city and residential by separation Private automobiles mitigate the resultant tyranny of distance Geographical separation lengthens feedback loops …and the true costs become someone else’s problem (in the future) We have been doing this for far too long with obvious results .Designing for the Tropics The City . residential as a separable entity .What is it? We consider.

come without cost The cost of ‘the great Australian dream’ is now being paid but we still cannot seem to break the cycle .Designing for the Tropics The City . as seemed to be the case.What is it? Mackay exhibits a quite typical pattern of development Originally founded in an appropriate location . likely fueled by cheap land and supported by the automobile This did not.Pioneer River Selected for reasons of commerce and proximity to resources Focused growth was followed by decentralisation.

000 lots. . “For tomorrow’s way of living” “We’ve got to bring this vision into reality” To help reduce water consumption residents would be encouraged to have less lawn… …exciting $1 Billion development …what is certain is that the twin cities will expand and sensible planning has to be settled and in place now.000 residents.Designing for the Tropics The City .What is it? $1 BILLION residential and commercial development… …house more than 15. …would comprise 5.

Historic buildings are our memory Structure refers to the general planning They tell us from whence we come Must be understood to be based on defunct and inappropriate design criteria Our cities are a product of a different era and they maintain references to design parameters that once were. We must acknowledge that we continue to design to the wrong brief . but are no longer.What is it? Development or Re-development The notion of developing land is in direct contradiction with the requirement for sustainability Re-development is the only acceptable approach within the definition Our cities typically display a significant degree of history in both built form and structure.Designing for the Tropics The City .

Designing for the Tropics The City .What is it? The contemporary city The challenge now is to transform these cities into contemporary. sustainable centres. Transport is only to facilitate the above. Ideally it will consume minimum space. Two major attributes will be fundamental to redevelopment: Design for People Facilitation of Exchange A contemporary city is a vehicle by which communication and exchange occurs across a very broad range of endeavour. .

Pragmatic design will produce places for people. Pragmatics and practicalities MUST be the fundamental consideration.What is it? The goal must be to create a comfortable and attractive range of climatic zones that are conducive to and encourage communication and exchange. Places for people will have their own uncontrived dynamism and resultant beauty. . We legislate ‘beauty’ in our public realm This more often than not comes at the expense of pragmatics.Designing for the Tropics The City .

Our Cities The problem .

Designing for the Tropics The Australian City .The problem On the one hand… …and on the other .

Designing for the Tropics The Australian City . ...The problem Buildings address the street insofar as the planning rules say they must Street beautification regulations apply.

.Designing for the Tropics The Australian City ..and engineered …treatment of street is legislated …and cars reign supreme ..The problem Streets.....are beautified .

The Bounded City The Solution? .

The solution? The Boundary of or the Bounding of a city Historic cities have endured and now enjoy the blessing of boundary: ZWOLLE GRONINGEN VENICE .Designing for the Tropics The bounded city .

The solution? Acknowledgement of the finite.Designing for the Tropics The bounded city . These cities clearly and consciously acknowledge the finite nature of resources (land) They are compact and they continually re-develop These cities have defined edges An edge allows a break from microclimatic conditions It offers an opportunity to step out of the city It offers broader vistas or views Defined and accessible edges offer occupants opportunities .

Designing for the Tropics The Compact City The compact city offers an array of benefits to: Government Business Residents Reduced infrastructure costs Opportunity for economic public transport Maintenance of natural heritage Encourages building re-use Offers a more stable housing market Enhances social equity and cohesion Maintains historic values Increases accessibility (equitable) Reduces car usage Improved general health Economic opportunity and stability Iconic. model destination city Reflect local character and conditions .

... Examples of compact cities are plentiful. ... Places for people Around the clock presence Reduced elemental exposure (buildings/people) Mutual protection Appreciation by end users Multiple use streets etc.Designing for the Tropics The Compact City And the list goes on...

Designing for the Tropics The Compact City …and diverse .

Designing for the Tropics The Compact City They are: regionally appropriate climatically responsive .

Designing for the Tropics The Compact City They are functional and social .

Designing for the Tropics The Compact City They are of the place .

Designing for the Tropics The Compact City …and they are for people .

Designing for the Tropics The Compact City They have a beginning and an end…an edge .

shared public spaces . functional.Designing for the Tropics The Compact City No contrived ‘street beautification’ Streets are pragmatic.

The Bounded City In practice .

000 3km .in practice TOWNSVILLE Population 150.000 Density 5:1 Current footprint 3.000.Designing for the Tropics The Bounded City .

in practice .Designing for the Tropics The Bounded City .

Streets .

Streets and buildings .

Edges and surrounds .

Choose your future .

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