April 29, 2013

Barrett House enters the Urban Design Awards

Have you visited Barrett House and have been impressed with the sustainable retrofits, then here's your chance to vote in the Urban Design Award People's Choice category for sustainability. Voting closes on Friday 3 May 2013 in the People's Choice category.

Visit Urban Design Award People's Choice webpage to vote

After obtaining grants from the state government for a 3-Council reduce Your Footprint project, the Barrett House retrofit projecty was formed. Barrett House was developed as a sustainable demonstration project that follows the permaculture design principles both inside and out - often showing two or three different approaches to retrofitting for sustainability to show the sustainability of every size and shape of house and every budget - to demonstrate how to make homes more sustainable and comfortable to living in.

Archtect Terry Bail and landscape architect Steve Batley were engaged to work collaboratively with staff and the community to design the retrofit of the builidng and garden to show different approaches to making an existing dwelling more comforatable, reduce energy and water use and incorporate low-toxic, sustainable building materials into the retrofit design.

Unlike a showroom the retrofti ideas have been incorporated into the activities of the house to demonstrate their effectiveness.

Today, the heritage cottage serves as:

  • venue for the 3 Eastern Suburbs Council's sustainability courses and workshop
  • sustainability demonstration venue - Barrett House opens a day a month for public visitation
  • a meeting and workshop venue for local sustainability-related community organisations
  • gardening education - a small cottage style garden demonstrates ideas for home food production, including container gardening and making self-watering container gardens
  • a trial of edible footpath gardens in the form of Barrett House forager's Garden

Urban design criteria

The rationale for creating the Barrett House community education centre was to provide a venue for sustainability education and a small scale community facility, on the border region between waverley and Randwick council areas, no served by such a place.

There exists a growing public demand for education in different approaches to living sustainably that are affordable, achievalbe within people's working and social lives and that improve conditions in the local region.

Barrett House showcases an approach to ecologically sustainable urban development that engages with citizens. The approach of the project's managers and educators is to:

  • FOCUS on clear, achievable educational content for workshops and courses - information and knowledge that there is evident demand for
  • GRAB ATTENTION by demonstrating what people ask about water and energy harvesting, storage and use, for home food production and for a place for community groups to be able to access cheaply; the montly open days,. when there are experts in water and energy systems and gardeing, have proven to be enablers of this capacity to grab the public's attention by educating those who want to learn
  • ENGAGE with the public through shared planning for the facility and by engaging community organisations to offer their own educational workshops at Barrett House
  • TAKING ACTION by providing workshop, courses and the monthly open days.

Retrofit elements include:




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