2018 Sustainability Awards



Recognising and celebrating sustainable design in architecture, this year’s Sustainability Awards drew over 150 submissions, eventually being whittled down to 12 award winners.

Here we take a look inside a couple of the highly acclaimed local projects awarded for their innovative eco-design that push sustainable architecture to new frontiers.


Winner - Best of the Best: Passive Butterfly, Armadale

EME Design
Photographed by Amorfo

From the Sustainability Awards:

The driving force behind the ‘Passive Butterfly’ home was to create an exemplar for transforming heritage Australian homes into beautiful and super-efficient passive houses for the 21st century, whilst retaining the heritage aspects of the building.

An unprecedented energy efficient and sustainable design approach refreshes this heritage home to holistically create joyful and beautiful spaces.

The design optimises spatial efficiency, while maintaining a compact footprint, generates more energy than it requires, and re-uses collected rainwater for toilets and the productive garden.

In order to create the northern aspect, the extension was conceived as a butterfly roof pavilion, cleverly linked to the old building.

To optimise the spaces, the link between the existing heritage and new extension becomes the kitchen to remove hallways and minimise “circulation only” spaces.

Passive Butterfly is a prototype and exemplar in sustainable and holistic retrofits of heritage homes to exponentially improve their long term efficiency and lifespan.

It showcases what is possible in terms of a holistic upgrade to Passive house standards.

Carefully modelled and tested to ensure year-round comfort, the design uses a passive design approach to ensure vastly improved comfort and super-efficient thermal performance.

The heritage home was retained, however existing windows were upgraded to triple glazed. Existing walls, floors, ceilings and roofs were also upgraded with new insulation to ensure air tightness.

With a flexible and efficient plan, a home office and productive veggie garden, the ‘Passive Butterfly’ is an archetype for sustainable, healthy and happy living.

The asymmetrical butterfly roof design was not only developed to be a beautiful architectural form, but also a functional way of getting sun into a light-starved extension by optimising solar access both internally and externally.

The folds in the roof form allow for hi-light windows to be inserted into the living room, and the roof’s apex and valley positions work to thread light into spaces and onto internal thermal mass.


Winner - Landscape & Biophilia Design: Phoenix Rooftop

Bent Architecture
Melbourne CBD
Photographed by Dianna Snape

From Bent Architecture

Phoenix Rooftop is a green refuge in the unlikeliest of places - 30-stories high, on an exposed, yet spectacular site in the heart of Melbourne.  This garden in the sky allows two down-sizing professionals to retain the joy of outdoor living as they transition from the suburbs to the city.

Our clients wanted their rooftop garden to provide functional areas akin to a typical suburban garden, but in a uniquely exposed, overlooked (and lofty) site.  To achieve this, the site is divided into three distinct, yet connected zones: one for standing, another for sitting, and one for outdoor eating. Raised garden beds, filled with fragrant and flowering plants, define each zone while acting as both balustrade and wind break.  A sculptural steel arbour shades, shields and protects the garden and occupants, responding to each zone's relative need for privacy, sunlight, and protection from the wind and rain.

Rooftop gardens are still an experimental science - particularly 30-storeys high, in one of Melbourne's most exposed sites. To our knowledge, this is the highest rooftop garden attempted in Melbourne, and is an innovative example of the ongoing and important investigation into the potential of green roofs in our cities.  Visible to thousands of office-workers everyday, this project is a billboard for environmental sustainability. The message reads, 'our buildings can be greener, both literally and figuratively'.

This project embodies our philosophy that green roofs should be designed to be enjoyed and experienced by people. To us, creating functional, beautiful and liveable rooftop gardens adds a layer of social sustainability to the environmental outcomes green roofs alone can provide