Here at The Architect Builders Collaborative our blood runs green. Making affordable green buildings and places is the core focus of everything we do. But, what does Green Design mean, anyways? The thing is, the same words Green Design may mean different things to different people.
- Healthy homes full of fresh air and sunlight?
- Energy efficiency and low monthly bills?
- Comfortable, draft-free homes?
- Warm, natural materials such as wood and stone?
- Durable, long lasting, and low maintenance buildings?
- Equitable design that works with people instead of for them?
- Building less, butbuilding better?
- Flexible, easily adaptable designs that grow with us?
- Socially responsible design that enhances all life?
- Low carbon footprints that help address Climate Change?
- Smaller buildings that still feel spacious and inviting?
- Affordable construction & operation for years to come?
When you think of Green Design, what comes to your mind?
If you are like many of our friends, you may doubt the truth of that last statement. You might ask “How can Green Design be Affordable?”. For some of the answers, download a copy of our Free Guide to Affordable Green Design here.
“Sustainability takes forever. And that’s the point”
William McDonough, Architect, personal hero, & Author of ‘Cradle to Cradle’ and ‘UpCycle’
Why do we use the term Green Design instead of Sustainable Design? Well, another favourite William McDonough quote goes something like this: “If I asked you to sum up your most important personal relationship in one word, and you said ‘Sustainable’, I would feel sorry for you”. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to get excited about sustainability, about zero carbon, or doing less and less bad. And we need to get excited about this – really excited!
The team at The Architect Builders Collaborative believe that:
- Green Design is beautiful design.
- Green Design creates a feeling of comfort and peace in our surroundings
- Green Design enhances our natural and built environment
- Green Design is inclusive design
- Green Design can be affordable design (with a little effort)
- Green Design is Great Design
With great design thinking, you won’t need to compromise your ideals.
Be bold, go Green!
A loose fit for a long life
By ‘loose fit’ we don’t mean stretchy covid-friendly waistlines on your pants.
A ‘loose fit’ in a building is a design that is inherently flexible and easy to adapt to changing needs and circumstances over time. Often ones we can’t even conceive of at the time we are building. Take the 101 year-old home base of our Clients, The Centre for Social Innovation for example This six storey brick-and-beam building which is very typical for lower end of Spadina Ave, has had many uses over the years – garment manufacturing, print shops, warehousing, used furniture store, community workshop, offices, and now as a co-working and event space for some of the most progressive organizations in the City. No doubt, this gem of a building will find many more uses over the years to come. As an aside, we recently helped expand its usefulness with the addition of a beautiful new interior landscape that provides event seating, casual gathering spaces, and a fully accessible path from the front door.
In our ‘ready-to-build’ laneway house ‘Classic Coachhouse’ design we have made sure that the garage can be easily converted to more living space in future if you no longer need parking. As a fully insulated, well-sealed space, it can be a workshop, living room, home office, music studio……almost anything you can imagine. And that’s the point – we can’t always imagine what our future needs for our homes will be.
Green Design is Inclusive.
At The Architect Builders Collaborative, as the name suggests, we don’t just make sure that our designs are accessible to all, but we include the Builders and others in the Designing in the first place. We are NOT Builders, but we ARE great at Collaboration.
It takes many people working together to create any building, but green buildings take an extra effort at coordination, and ensuring that we are all singing from the same songbook. The coolest eco-friendly materials and the greatest technical details on their own won’t make for a green building without the active engagement of the tradespeople who are putting it all together – often in tough, dirty, and uncomfortable conditions.
From years of experience with both building and designing, we know that the skilled hands putting together our buildings often also form great ideas to make those buildings perform, feel, or just look better. The role of the Architect on the jobsite is often likened to that of a Conductor at a concert. We don’t have to be able to play every instrument well, but we do need to know and show the team how they should be played, when, and with who else. The Architect is the glue that holds the great green design team together.