Michael the Builder - Element. Website and profile photography. Woodbridge, Perth, Western Australia, Friday 20th November 2015

I really should have tucked in my shirt | Photo: Daniel Carson

As primarily an architect, I enjoy working with clients who have a passion for designing more sustainable, eco-effective homes and buildings.

While I am also an educator and advocate for designing more sustainable buildings, generally speaking I don’t see it as my role to convince prospective clients as to why they should build a more sustainable. eco-effective home or building. The vast majority of my clients don’t need to be convinced about the merits of eco-effective buildings; they just need assistance from someone like me to help them make the building as sustainable as possible.

With my consulting work, I work with a range of organisations and other architects to analyze, test and validate the performance of buildings and the built environment.

Many of of the projects I am involved with are new detached homes in inner city suburbs such as Perth, Mt Hawthorn, Leederville, Lathlain and Bedford. I also enjoy work on renovations and additions – to both as a way to preserve and enhance our building heritage, and also because working with an existing building significantly reduces the carbon and energy footprint related to building construction.

Budgets for the houses I work on generally range from around $350,000-750,000, but of course it all all depends on a client’s requirements and expectations. Many of my clients have modest budgets, but don’t want a nasty, ill-considered project home that is commonly found in the weekend paper. They don’t need expensive finishes and benchtops; what they want is a simple but well-designed home that is comfortable to live and minimises harm to the environment. When you think about it, people that don’t have a lot of money actually require the services of an eco-effective architect the most.

Unlike many of my peers, I don’t tend to design expensive, luxury homes anymore – been there, done that, and to be honest it’s not particularly rewarding or satisfying. Also, I don’t believe there is such a thing as a sustainable luxury home, and because there are other, more suitable architects out there if you are seeking that kind of thing.

The projects I enjoy working on the most are grouped and multiple dwellings, such as medium density apartment and mixed-use buildings. These types of buildings, if thoughtfully designed, can enhance a sense of community and belonging, reduce urban sprawl and make better use of our finite resources. That is, they start having the potential to  achieve genuine, sustainable outcomes.

I also experiment and have an interest in prefabricated and modular building design and construction, as well as social and refugee housing.

If you’re still reading and I haven’t offended you yet, please feel free to get in touch.