There are few architects than can boast the mantle of pioneering energy efficient prefab residential buildings in Australia. Some of the more significant developments during the 80s and 90s were instigated by architect and project housing entrepreneur John Baird (1924-2010).
Following a successful Melbourne-based architectural practice in the 60s and 70s, Baird established Fairweather Homes in the early 80s. Still operational today under the direction of Paul Adams in collaboration with MODUS Architects, Fairweather Homes remains focused on modularity, energy efficient and durability.
There is a no-nonsense feel to the design Fairweather Homes, and their development process is uncomplicated while also responsive to customer and end-user needs and wants. The architecture and materials talk to natural environments, the bush, the coast, but equally at home in urban environments where a penchant for timber is high on your agenda.
At the core of their projects is sustainability and energy efficiency, and all the fundamentals are integrated, from space planning, orientation and glazing, through to shading, eaves and ventilation. More active renewable energy systems are also incorporated which together with water collections, reuse and disposal, fulfil the most environmentally oriented desires of end-users and occupants.
The smart use of certified timbers is strong theme across the range of Fairweather Homes. Cladding, window frames, wall and roof framing, are all produced from plantation-grown timbers and the prefabrication process helps to minimise waste and maximise overall resource efficiency.
Fairweather Homes are free of embellishment and superficial adornments; the lines are sharp and clean and respond to the primary objectives of environmental performance in the broadest sense.
It is the heritage of Baird’s philosophy that continues in the work of the company. Attention to cost and energy efficiency in a way that can maximise wider access to quality building and good design, is what marks the style and purpose of these modular buildings. Indeed, the outcomes of such thinking resulted in various awards during the 80s and 90s including an Australian Design Award, and MBA Award and a National Energy Award.
It is the simplicity underpinned by substance that makes the late John Baird and Fairweather Homes one of Australia’s more significant contributors to advancing prefabricated modular homes and buildings.
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