AbstractsBusiness Management & Administration

In search of Perth's sustainable dwelling typology

by Chantelle Lynn Beckett

Institution: University of Western Australia
Degree: M.Arch.
Year: 2014
Keywords: Sustainable housing; Perth (W.A.) domestic typologies; Indexation
Record ID: 1043966
Full text PDF: http://repository.uwa.edu.au:80/R/?func=dbin-jump-full&object_id=40237&local_base=GEN01-INS01


Despite the prevalence of modern 'green' rhetoric and increasing 'green' stringency in legislated Australian building codes, the common contemporary West Australian Perth home does not appear to respond well to its climatic setting and is becoming increasingly reliant on mechanical systems in the provision of human comfort. This study sought to investigate the origin and evolution of Perth's contemporary domestic response, in order to determine if, at any point in Perth's history, its domestic typology was on a path to a more sustainable solution. A building's capacity for sustainability is, however, a broad and subjective definition and can encompass a range of parameters. This makes qualitative and equitable comparisons difficult, particularly when comparing non contemporary approaches. Although the commercial market offers a range of proven indexation tools for the comparison of sustainable benchmarks, the evaluations they offer are geared towards optimising commercial return on modern typologies. Without a suitable holistic indexation methodology available for an historical domestic comparison, a specialised indexation model was developed, having been inspired and amalgamated from several commercially used tools, including Ecotect and Green Star. Through the use of this unique indexation methodology, the technical and performance data of fifteen historically representative, single detached Perth dwellings was studied, enabling their comparative ranking and performance evaluation. The results from the indexation suggest that Perth's historical housing typology had a one point shifted toward a more sustainable path than what is represented in more recent house stock. This historical trend also appears to mirror contemporaneous architectural and intellectual debate as well as economic and global influence. Despite this research suggesting that the contemporary Perth home is not, as should be expected, a more sustainable response than some of its historical counterparts, this research also aimed to suggest where improvements may be made to both present and future housing stock. Perth is fortunate to have a climate that can be readily modulated by the application of simple climate responsive techniques. Although future types can make a more concerted response with the application of some of these techniques, as evidenced by a recent domestic case study, many of the historical types presented can also be readily adapted and manipulated to provide a more sustainable solution. Most importantly, however, this research suggests that the Perth housing type does need to change. In a city of rapid growth and increasing comfort expectations, a more suitable housing type will be needed to ensure environmental and comfort sustainability. In order to achieve this change, this research also highlights the role the architect and the building industry now needs to have in order to secure a more appropriate and sustainable domestic housing solution. Despite the prevalence of modern 'green' rhetoric and increasing 'green'…