worked in densely built-up London, sun drenched Zimbabwe, and
climatically volatile Ireland, I am very conscious of the importance
of light. Levels and quality of light and shade impact hugely on
comfort and mood, can create a sense of well-being and uplift the
spirits. A narrow shaft of light illuminating – perhaps – a vase of
flowers, can transform a room or entrance lobby. A sequence of light
and shaded spaces enhances the quality of those spaces.
Getting the circulation right makes best use of the space available,
takes fullest advantage of views and the path of the sun, and
resolves the conflicts that exist in all building briefs.
Establishing the character of each space creates a tailored
environment. A space may be expected to hum with activity, with
people milling to and fro, or create a sanctuary, carefully laid out
for precious moments of reflection and relaxation.
materials used will determine the character of the building. Passive
energy control is achieved through careful specification of the
external envelope. Low maintenance and running costs are always an
objective. Expensive materials, such as glass or natural stone, are used
to greatest effect. Environmentally friendly materials, such as
renewable timber, natural forms of insulation, and recycled products
such as re-constituted stone are recommended.
designer, I am continually fascinated by both natural and man-made
spaces and objects. I find sketching, painting and pottery enable me
to look closely, and arrive at designs that both work and lift the
SUSTAINABILITY, LOW ENERGY LOW COST
Sustainable development is the construction and servicing of buildings using renewable materials which do not endanger the natural environment. The
shape and fabric of the building can be arranged to harness the naturally created energy all around us, to improve the air quality, and to reduce running costs. Mechanical services can incorporate solar panels, heat pumps, central control systems and rain-water harvesting, also reducing running costs. The low energy house needs to be tailored to the lifestyle of the client, their daily energy demands met with appropriate technology. This 'sustainability' aspect of the design process has transformed from a matter of choice to one of necessity due to widespread ecological damage. Recent
changes in the Building Regulations legally oblige us to face up to the most important and exiting design challenge of the 21st Century. Please click here for a brief introduction to the design of sustainable buildings.