On the verandah of his Architecture studio in the Australian beachside town of Casuarina, in Northern New South Wales, Scott Carpenter gestures towards the surrounding ‘timeless beach homes’ which showcase the work of some of Australia’s leading residential Architects.

“I’m quite privileged and proud to be involved in a built environment dominated by so many award winning Architects,” says Scott.

It is a pleasant surprise to come across such stunningly designed homes nestled amongst the natural coastal environment.  

Caring for his surroundings is obviously important to Scott and the Casuarina Township has been an integral part of Scott’s short but remarkable career to date.  The surrounding homes are a testament to his intuitive talent and provide clues as to his strong affinity for the environment. Architecture is in Scott’s blood; his father was a designer and builder which would explain Scott’s connection to melding design and construction.  “From about the age of eight I knew that I was always going to be an Architect”, says Scott.  “I’d sit beside Dad’s drawing table for hours at night and spend a good portion of my school holidays on site…absorbing everything. By the time I was fourteen, he (Dad) even had me doing some of his drafting”.

Growing up as the son of a designer/builder gave Scott an enormous sense of the need for craftsmanship in the building process.  Today, whether it is working on domestic or commercial projects, Scott likes to get the builder involved.  “When two well-informed minds meet early in the design process, problems get solved,” Scott explains. His father taught him “anything can be built so long as you get the detail right.”  

Scott established a design and drafting business on the Northern Beaches of Sydney for ten years while studying Architecture at both UTS and UNSW. During his final year he came across the Ritek Custom Panels and incorporated them into his final graduation project.  His lecturers did not believe his claims that these incredibly thin panels could span up to 8m (now 9.2m) with a cantilever of 4m. Scott took great delight in taking in the Ritek specifications brochure the very next day to prove that this technology indeed existed and proved that these incredible structural properties weren’t far fetched.

On completion of his studies, a friend of the family asked Scott if he would be interested in relocating to Brisbane to join their architectural firm.  The firm was headed by leading Architect Geoffrey Pie, the inaugural winner of the Robyn Boyd Award – Australia’s premier award for residential architecture. Scott’s reply was - “In a heart beat.” 

With his pregnant wife in tow, Scott moved to Queensland, and was welcomed by Geoffrey Pie as an integral part of his team.  Scott brought a refreshing energy to the firm and he relished the opportunity to work closely on designs with Geoffrey, getting into the nuts and bolts of good design and detail. Scott’s own design theories were soon confirmed by Geoffrey, enabling him to turn them into reality.  

Scott was instrumental in designing many of the original homes within Casuarina and for some time consulted to the town’s Architectural Review Committee, ensuring that all designs met the sensitive area’s strict environmental requirements.  Casuarina had been sand mined for many years, then re-vegetated with the noxious weed bitou bush from South Africa, so the site had not experienced the best life. It is now being returned as much as possible to the one that existed prior to the sand mining, with the obvious difference being that a master planned village and community has been carefully sited into the environment.  

After leaving Geoffrey’s firm to branch out on his own in 2003, Scott started his own architectural firm in Casuarina.  Scott Carpenter Architect has now grown to a team of three including Interior Designer Lauren Daly and Senior Designer Andy Munford.    

Scott is now an award winning Architect in his own right, taking out numerous awards including two in last year’s RAIA NSW Chapter Country Division Architecture Awards - One for ‘Single Residential Buildings’ and the other in the ‘Alterations and Additions’ category, both of which used the Ritek roof system as an integral part of the design.  

Over the past decade, Scott’s work has been driven by three core objectives: his appreciation for craftsmanship, contemporary Architecture and sustainable design.  

While now gathering much needed momentum, sustainable design is not a new-age theory. For more than 30 years, Queensland Architect’s such as Robin Gibson, Gabriele Poole, Geoffrey Pie and countless others all practiced the fundamentals of sustainability in their designs.  

Like the eco-innovative designers before him, Scott says the first step of sustainable design is to get the ‘basics’ right.  “Orientate to the North, shade the windows in the summer and allow solar penetration in the colder months. Control the East & West sun and provide good cross-ventilation and insulation. This is a good start. If you want to get serious, start looking at issues such as water collection and re-use, thermal mass, re-useable, renewable and recycled materials, embodied energy, and avoiding toxic and ‘off-gassing’ materials…the list goes on.”  

“As an Architect, I am constantly on the lookout for new and innovative materials and techniques,” Scott said.  “I like the simplicity of the Ritek insulated roof system. Architecturally, I was attracted to the incredible cantilevers provided with such a thin elegant profile. Structurally – it can achieve enormous spans and on an environmental note, it provides terrific thermal comfort and is re-usable.”  

Scott used the Ritek Roof panel in the first home that he designed for himself and his growing family.  “I was so amazed that after my walls were erected, the Ritek Custom Roof Panel went up and was completed in two days.  Within the first week of construction, the trades could work, sheltered from the sun and rain.” The builder too soon fell in love with the product. “The speed and ease of installation of the Ritek roof saves the builder construction time of an average of two to three weeks per project.  It also provides much needed shelter in high rainfall areas, so there’s little or no down time.”  

Ritek’s Custom Roof Panels have become an integral part of many of Scott’s designs and have been incorporated into approximately half of all the homes he has designed on the Tweed Coast. “We have exploited it’s capabilities in so many and varied ways. Used as a skillion roof, they allow incredibly wide eaves and are the perfect solution for verandah ‘fly-over’ roofs, while the curved panels allow for high vaulted ceilings without a centre support. If I had to summarize, I’d say that the homes that I have designed using Ritek tend to exude an overwhelming ‘sense of shelter’ and let’s face it, no matter what the environment – that’s what a home should do.”