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Housing Design Of Our Times

By Dan Sowden

Affordability and the environment have emerged as the newest winning principles when it comes to home design and construction. Not that long ago in the Sunshine Coast’s history, massive modern mansions seemed to be the only things being built.

They were resplendent in hard, white angles. They were built inefficiently to be inefficient. They had exotic non-native succulents in the garden and air-conditioning in almost every room. Housing estate homes were slightly smaller, but just as inefficient.

Nowadays, uncertain economic times have forced an attitude shift away from bigger-is-better extravagance and towards simplicity, affordability and sensitivity to the environment.

Aboda Design Group opened its doors last October after its co-directors Scott Falconer and Lee Foster were made redundant from Kidd + Co. Just eight months later, they won the Golden Glossy Award for Excellence in Sustainable Design for a Professional Construction under $350,000.

“It was a blessing in disguise,” Mr Foster said of the redundancy. “We are in our 30s and can identify with people with mortgages, whereas in the past we were used to working in the high end of the residential marketplace on houses in excess of $1million.

“So we were starting on a low-cost base and we wanted to work and to design as efficiently as we could. In retrospect it was a great time to start a business.”

Mr Foster said the display home at the Ridges estate at Peregian was the new business’ first project.

“When we left Kidd + Co we realised we needed to have a look at the affordable and more environmentally sensitive part of the residential home market, that was our first objective in starting the business.

“We developed a number of prototype designs and Adam Dew from Eco Build approached us, as he had identified a similar thing: we needed to do a better job to create well designed homes that were affordable.”

Mr Foster said savings in the order of $10,000 could be achieved by partnering with builders to license home designs. Aboda is then paid on commission once a client signs on the dotted line. Those savings are then channelled back into the design for things like solar hot water, better insulation and photo-voltaic panels.

“All of the houses are lightweight and up off the ground because the intention is not to disturb the site as opposed to a concrete slab on ground,” Mr Foster said.

“That allows ventilation under the house, improved drainage and also means they work on difficult sites, which are often the hardest to sell.”

Other Glossy Award winners this year were: Montville business Worms Downunder which won the Living Smart Solutions Award and was joint winner of the EnvironBusiness Award with Sheraton Noosa, which has been involved in the ecoBiz program since 2006. WD Architects won for excellence in sustainable design for the Noosa Pengari Steiner School Library

Source: Sunshine Coast Daily

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