Embarking on a new architectural project is a complex endeavour, requiring rigorous briefing and consultation to bring intangible dreams and ideas to fruition. The result is a tangible edifice that embodies dynamic spaces, brought to life by the skilled selection of materials and design choices made by the architect.

The process of transforming an abstract concept into a concrete reality is a unique and exhilarating experience that cannot be matched by any other in the built environment. Architects and their clients feel an undeniable sense of wonder and satisfaction, especially in the realm of residential design, where every project is distinct.

As global carbon reduction efforts have gained momentum and been enshrined in legislation, architects and clients are increasingly focused on integrating environmentally friendly elements into their designs. Renewable energy systems are now commonplace, as are concrete floors and layouts designed to maximise natural light and cross ventilation. Additionally, recycled materials have become a common element in new developments, enabling the creation of net-zero structures that dramatically reduce carbon emissions.

Each year, the Sustainability Awards provide a platform for architects to showcase their work and innovative sustainability concepts. The Single Dwelling (New) category is a prime example, featuring brand new Class 1a Buildings erected within the past 12 months.

The nominees and shortlisted projects in this category represent a careful balance between usability (as outlined in the client brief) and ongoing sustainability outcomes. The reigning champion of this category is the Melbourne Design Studios’ The Hütt 01 Passivhaus, an impressive and contemporary structure that sets a positive example for regenerative urban densification. This project embodies core values of regenerative design, Passivhaus, and biophilic design, while being energy-efficient, carbon-neutral/negative, and easily maintainable using a near-net-zero-energy approach.

The Hütt 01 Passivhaus boasts a blend of functional playfulness, high attention to detail, and highly sustainable construction techniques and materials. The house incorporates new technologies like Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) with low VOC finishes, natural wood-fibre insulation, thermal-bridge-free high-performance windows, heat-recovery ventilation, a super-airtight building envelope, green walls and planters, and aquaponics. 

It has attained “Passivhaus Premium” certification (the highest possible category), employing high-efficiency appliances with heat pump technology, solar photovoltaic and battery, integrated active shading, and recycled and/or natural materials throughout.

In the upcoming year, the Single Dwelling (New) category is set to receive sponsorship once more from Stormtech, a loyal partner of the Sustainability Awards. Stormtech's top-tier drainage solutions have long served as a foundation for both new and pre-existing projects, subject to exhaustive quality control assessments that ensure the sustainability and longevity of their products.

Creating from scratch presents a formidable obstacle that every architect must face sooner or later. The Single Dwelling (New) category at the Sustainability Awards provides an optimal platform for architects to highlight their efforts in designing sustainable abodes from the ground up. If you or anyone you know has undertaken a project deserving of recognition, we encourage you to submit it here.