Author Archives: Playoust Churcher

  1. What is sustainable design?

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    sustainable home design

    We’ve seen a rise in sustainable design, or at least the term ‘sustainable design’ being thrown around a lot. But for all the hype about it, what does it actually mean for those people looking to design a sustainable home?

    Sustainable design goes beyond just environmental design, also incorporating social and economic sustainability as part of the process. It can be applied to all kinds of objects and services, however we’re here to talk houses. So if you’re looking for a sustainable home design , what should you be considering?

    Passive homes

    A relatively new buzz word, passive homes are designed to take advantage of the climate to help maintain a comfortable indoor temperature, with a goal to reduce or eliminate the need for a heating or cooling unit. It’s achieved through thoughtful process into the orientation of your home, installing adjustable shading and insulation, as well as choosing the right building materials for the climate you live in. For those living in older homes, you can even eliminate much of the cool air in your home by sealing up any air leaks to help trap warmth in Winter. Heating and cooling units account for up to 40% of Australian energy bills, so looking for alternatives is a great way to not only be environmentally friendly, but also save money.

    Energy

    One of the best ways to reduce your energy bills, as well as your carbon footprint, is to install energy efficient heating and cooling and one of the best options available right now is solar heating or wind generators. The initial outlay can be expensive, although rebates and other incentives may offset much of this cost, and they pay themselves off relatively quickly due to their low running costs. Choosing smart appliances and energy-efficient lighting with high energy ratings also helps reduce your energy bill and carbon footprint – so consider more than just price when purchasing that new fridge, because lower energy ratings can end up costing you more in the long run.

    Water

    It’s no secret that Australia has a massive water problem. Droughts are rife most Summers and even occasional Winters, so it’s important that we work together to ensure the longevity of our drinkable water supply. You might think you can’t make much of an impact on your own, but there are several steps homes can take to help improve water sustainability through two major steps:

    1.Reducing the quantity of water we consume
    2.Improving water quality by managing stormwater and wastewater

    Neither of these things involves drinking less water, but rather managing the other uses of water in the house. Turning off the tap while you brush your teeth, taking shorter showers and installing water-efficient showerheads, toilets and taps are all ways you can reduce your water use inside. Heading outside, choosing indigenous plants, mulching and using water efficient irrigation systems, as well as considering the installation of a rainwater tank can help reduce your footprint. You can also consider re-routing your wastewater (often called grey water) to the garden and even your toilet, as long as low sodium and low phosphorus detergents are used in the grey water.

  2. Top 7 Most Beautiful Buildings in Australia

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    Our favourite buildings across Australia

    They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but these buildings are known for being striking for a reason: because the vast majority of people agree that they are appealing to the eye. So we’ve compiled a list of our favourite buildings from across Australia. From neo-Gothic architecture in Adelaide to ultra-modern paper bag buildings, there’s something for everyone! We hope you agree that these are definitely some of the most stunning architectural feats that make our nation more beautiful.

    Flinders Street Station

    Flinders street station, Melbourne, Australia.

    A Melbourne Icon, the bright yellow Flinders Street Station, was the first railway station built in an Australian city and was inspired by the French Renaissance period. The green dome is called ‘Green Light’ and the famous clocks, referenced in the Melbourne idiom ‘I’ll meet you under the clocks’, date back to the 1860s.

    The Glasshouse

    the glasshouse port macquarie nsw

    Located in Port Macquarie, NSW, this gorgeous entertainment venue has been awarded the best building in regional Australia, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering its soft curves and stunning timber interiors.

    Sidney Myer Music Bowl

    Sidney Myer Music Bowl

    While not technically a building, the Music Bowl is often cited as one of the most beautiful structures in Australia due to its seamless integration into the land around it. As an added bonus, the way it rises out of the grass only serves to highlight the stunning skyline behind it.

    Beehive Corner

    corner of King William St and Rundle Street in Adelaide

    Perched on the bustling corner of King William St and Rundle Street in Adelaide, the neo-Gothic-inspired Beehive Corner is home to Haigh’s Chocolates. Despite only being a few levels tall, it’s a striking building that is identifiable by a prominent tourelle bearing its name and is a popular meeting spot for Adelaideans venturing into town.

    The UTS Paper Bag

    Dr Chau Chak Wing Building

    The Dr Chau Chak Wing, fondly known as the ‘Paper Bag’ building was inspired by the folds you see in skin and clothing according to its architect, the world renowned Frank Gehry. He said it was designed to allow for room in changes or movement and many of the classrooms are oval to encourage discussion.

    Indiana Tea Rooms

    Indiana Tea Rooms

    Cottesloe Beach, in Perth Western Australia, often makes top ten most beautiful beach lists around the globe and for good reason: the sand is pristine, the water blue and the waves draw surfers from around the world. But we’re not here to talk about the beach! The Indiana Tea Rooms takes its name from the ice cream parlour that originally operated in the current building’s location in the 1910’s. The building we see today was built in the 1960s and is home to a restaurant, fish and chip shop and a function room.

    Sydney Opera House

    The Sydney Opera House in the city of Sydney in Australia.

    No list would be complete without our national icon. One of the most recognisable buildings in the world, the Opera House is regularly praised for its gorgeous sail design that perfectly complements its blue water surrounds. In 2007, it was officially granted status as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

  3. Residential architecture: last 5 years trends

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    Because the majority of houses are not bashed down and rebuilt each year, it’s hard for those not working in the architectural industry to spot many design trends as they walk down the street. Some are obvious, such as the Federation Style home, and those gawky 1970’s flats that you spot in most suburbs. If you’re looking for inspiration when designing your new home, we’ve rounded up the last five years of trends in residential architecture that just might help get those creative juices flowing…

    Inner city living

    As housing prices continued to soar, we saw a rise in the number of spaces above shops and old offices being converted into residential spaces. In regards to the spaces above shops, many of these were once residential and have just been returned to their original intended use. This revival is partly due to the improved public transport that we now enjoy, meaning that many home owners are now less concerned about parking spaces than they once were.

    Heritage homes

    We’ve also seen a rise in embracing heritage-listed houses, partly due to the fact that councils now allow internal renovations, as long as the facade is kept intact and partly because current trends have meant that original wrought iron decorations, tiled fireplaces and classical mouldings are now in style. These types of houses are also common in highly sought-after inner city suburbs, ensuring their popularity for years to come.

    Smaller carbon footprints

    There’s been a rise in the number of passive homes, where residential architects and home owners put more thought and energy into how to make their home as environmentally friendly than they did the appearance or design, with a focus to reduce their own individual carbon footprint. This can also be seen in the rise of natural, sustainable materials over previously popular synthetic building materials.

    Modular homes

    We also saw a rise in pre-fabricated houses. Often called modular homes, this is where parts of a house, or even occasionally the entire house, are built off-site in large factories and then simply ‘installed’ on-site. This method cuts down the amount of time it takes to build a house, as builders work is not so dependent on the weather forecast.

    Smarter storage

    Inventive storage was also on the rise for those renovating small houses who wanted to increase storage while still maximising the space they have. Think under the stair cupboard, steps in the staircases being turned into drawers and high shelving built directly into the walls. This can also be seen in the kind of furnishing people are buying: ottomans with hidden storage, trunks as coffee tables and couches that convert into beds are all trendy once again.

    Kitchen as the centre of the home

    Once upon a time, kitchens were tucked away in the back of the home, hidden from view. Now days, we tend to find kitchens being designed to be the centre of the home, combined with the primary living area. This is partly due to a revival of dinner parties, but also due to the multi-functional use of a kitchen: no longer just a place for cooking, it’s also a place for families to bond, homework to be completed and meals to be eaten.

  4. Dual Occupancy Project Delivering Great Returns in Sydney

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    At Playoust Churcher Architects we specialise in working with our clients who wish to achieve a Dual Occupancy dwellings on an existing single occupancy site . We have a proven track record on providing our clients with a significant return on investment for the right property. We have local council knowledge and experience and have worked with many clients in achieving their goal of adding value to their investment.

    An example of how we’ve been able to provide our clients with a significant return on investment from a dual occupancy dwelling is a property located in Lindfield. The idea to build a second dwelling on the block with its own street frontage/access (all within 650m to Lindfield Station) delivered fantastic returns for our client. Here’s the birds eye view of the property, illustrating both the 899 square metre residence, with the 606 square metre addition (where the new two-storey house will reside):

    overhead dual occupancy lindfield

    Some of the comments from a Real Estate Agent regarding the new house on the now dual occupancy site are:

    “THE NEW HOUSE on 606sqm is an architecturally designed two storey 5/4/2 house with a versatile floorplan giving the growing family various options. Designed by renowned North Shore architects Playoust Churcher, the classic yet contemporary layout thoughtfully captures the natural light and optimise the air flow. This family home is truly a winner. Interior specifications can be built to personal tastes and budgets.”

    Features of the 2 storey house include:

    • • 4 generous bedrooms all with built in robe, master bedroom with walk in robe and en-suite.
    • • Gourmet kitchen with walk in pantry, island bench space and double fridge space.
    • • Soaring floor-to-ceiling windows to main living area, opening to huge outdoor entertaining area with distant views to Chatswood.
    • • Double lockup garage with internal access, internal laundry, generous storage space.

     

  5. Multi Residential Architecture

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    multi residential architecture, multi family houses

    With more and more families realising that the detached family home dream is out of their reach, many are opting for more reasonably priced terrace houses and multi-residential homes. Not only are these options still spacious enough for a family, they still come with the benefits of (small) backyards and carports, unlike many apartments. They can take several forms and are often found in family-friendly suburbs on leafy streets, where access to amenities is high and schools are a plenty.

    So if you’re at your wits end trying to save for a detached family home, perhaps you should consider a multi residential home? Here are some of the pros of opting for this style:

    Economical

    Because a multi residential home is set up in a similar fashion to an apartment block, you will find electricity and gas bills may be reduced, particularly due to the smaller size of your home. You’ll also find cleaning, or paying a cleaner, costs less in both time and money and you may even be able to sell several of your belongings, as smaller spaces require less belongings. This can be a bit of a shock to the system when you first downsize, but once settled, most people wonder why they were so worried in the first place! Smaller spaces force families to spend more time together and that’s something you definitely won’t regret when your kids move out of home.

    Safe spaces for children

    Still dreaming of a backyard? It’s hard to give up on a space where you created many of your fondest memories as a child, but while you may wish for a large outdoor area, your kids are bound to be thrilled with any space where they can live out their imaginations and chase one another, while you can keep a close eye on them. A backyard also allows for outdoor Summer entertaining, without the fuss of large spaces requiring endless clean up at the end.

    No one-size-fits-all

    If you’re still looking for a relatively spacious home, where the kids can run around and you can (try to) isolate them at one end of the house while you regroup in the other, a multi-residential home is a great option. While they are usually on the smaller side, multi residential homes are designed to be spacious enough for families and often have large entertaining areas and open plan living, making meal times and family time easier to combine into one.

    New friends!

    Ok, this could go one of two ways – we’ve all got nightmare neighbour stories… but more often than not, having neighbours is a wonderful way to feel more like a community, as they provide a support network and social circle you may not have encountered otherwise. Families of similar ages tend to dwell in the same areas, so you’ll likely find your multi-residential house sharers also have children who are keen to make new friends.

    If you’re over trying to save for the kind of family home you grew up in, but aren’t keen to take the plunge into apartment dwelling, why not consider a multi residential home? All we see are benefits!

  6. Dual Occupancy Project Delivering Great Returns in Sydney

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    At Playoust Churcher Architects we specialise in working with our clients who wish to achieve a Dual Occupancy dwellings on an existing single occupancy site . We have a proven track record on providing our clients with a significant return on investment for the right property. We have local council knowledge and experience and have worked with many clients in achieving their goal of adding value to their investment.

    An example of how we’ve been able to provide our clients with a significant return on investment from a dual occupancy dwelling is a property located in Lindfield. The idea to build a second dwelling on the block with its own street frontage/access (all within 650m to Lindfield Station) delivered fantastic returns for our client. Here’s the birds eye view of the property, illustrating both the 899 square metre residence, with the 606 square metre addition (where the new two-storey house will reside):

    overhead dual occupancy lindfield

    Some of the comments from a Real Estate Agent regarding one of the new houses on the now dual occupancy site are:

    “THE NEW HOUSE on 606sqm is an architecturally designed two storey 5/4/2 house with a versatile floorplan giving the growing family various options. Designed by renowned North Shore architects Playhouse Churcher, the classic yet contemporary layout thoughtfully captures the natural light and optimise the air flow. This family home is truly a winner. Interior specifications can be built to personal tastes and budgets.”

    Features of the 2 storey house include:

    • 4 generous bedrooms all with built in robe, master bedroom with walk in robe and en-suite.
    • Gourmet kitchen with walk in pantry, island bench space and double fridge space.
    • Soaring floor-to-ceiling windows to main living area, opening to huge outdoor entertaining area with distant views to Chatswood.
    • Double lockup garage with internal access, internal laundry, generous storage space.