A collaboration between architectural practices Breathe, DKO Architecture and landscaping specialists Oculus has taken out the medium business award at the 32nd annual Banksia Sustainability Awards.

Winning the award for multi-residential building Arkadia, located in Alexandria, Sydney, the project was commissioned by Defence Housing Australia (DHA), with the firms were tasked with designing 152 dwellings in urban Sydney – 85 homes for defence personnel and their families and 67 to be sold on the open market.

DHA wanted Arkadia to set a new benchmark in multi-residential buildings that prioritised environmental and social sustainability. There was also the want of creating an affordable option for first home buyers, with all properties offered at a 5% deposit. Importantly, this was to be achieved in a building that is fossil fuel free. The result is 4 buildings, with 4 identities and 4 communities. They are tied together to form a single sinuous skin, woven together from carefully crafted recycled brickwork. 

The result is a project that is credited as the largest recycled brick building in Australia. The entire project is 100% electric, allowing for an entirely renewable, carbon free energy source.

The Banksia judges were impressed with how Arkadia is increasing and sustaining impact, commended the project for being fossil fuel free and on their reuse of building materials and their excellent engagement with tenants throughout.

Graz Van Egmond, CEO of the Banksia Foundation says the Arkadia project reflects the outcomes of the criteria outstandingly. 

“Our winners are all catalysts for positive, productive, possible acceleration for the change we need. Whether it be climate change, species extinction, need for waste reduction, or simply being kinder and fairer to each other.

“COVID-19 has taught us lessons that we cannot forget and has helped us look at how we can prevent further disasters from happening.”

The longest-running sustainability awards in the world, the Banksia Awards seek out and recognise innovation and leadership through the lens of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These global goals aim to unite the world businesses, governments and citizens to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and protect the planet.

Arkadia was completed in 2020 and is now home to defence personnel and the general public. To see more about the project, click here