5 Eco Architects in the Northern Rivers 

Beautiful Bundjalung country, the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, is known for its lush natural landscape where the mountains meet the ocean. It’s also a highly concentrated region of citizens attentive to ideas of sustainable living and eco-conscious design. As our population continues to grow, it’s important to continue putting the environment first when considering how we live, work and play. Architecturally speaking, there’s a great need for environmentally focused buildings.

Let’s explore the work of five architecture practices transforming the sustainable architectural landscape of our coastal paradise. From Dominic Finlay Jones Architects to Lucy Clemenger Architects, each firm brings a unique approach to sustainable design with less environmental impact, but strong impressions on the local community.

 

Dominic Finlay Jones Architects

Dominic Finlay Jones Architects is at the forefront of sustainable design in Byron Bay. With their unwavering commitment to environmentally conscious principles, they have established a reputation for creating stunning residential and commercial buildings that harmonize with the natural surroundings. Their designs blend seamlessly with the landscape, incorporating renewable materials, energy-efficient systems, and innovative construction techniques.

One of their recent projects, Easy Street, sits within the Habitat Retail and Lifestyle Precinct—a 12.5-acre sustainable mixed-use village located within the Byron Bay Arts and Industry Estate. The project won a commercial architecture award at the 2023 AIA NSW Architecture Awards. The buildings feature natural ventilation, broad eaves, high thermal mass, extensive native landscaping, rainwater harvesting, recycled water for irrigation, low-flow taps, low voltage lighting, stormwater filtration, and a 100kW solar system with Tesla battery storage, among other sustainable features.

Harley Graham Architects

Renowned for their expertise in sustainable design and eco-friendly construction practices, Harley Graham Architects has become a prominent name in Byron Bay. They prioritise energy efficiency, natural ventilation, and the use of sustainable materials in their projects. By seamlessly integrating sustainability into their designs, they create spaces that enhance both the well-being of the occupants and the environment.

One of their recent projects, Larus Marinus, is a multigenerational family retreat perched on a steeply contoured site overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The design takes advantage of the northern aspect and captures views of the ocean, Julian Rocks, and Wollumbin. The house features durable materials such as longline cladding and recycled ironbark to withstand the salty northerlies. The project beautifully balances nature and manmade forms, providing a contrast between the natural landscape and modern architecture.

Troppo Architects

Troppo Architects, a national architectural practice with a branch in Byron Bay, holds a strong commitment to environmental sustainability. Their portfolio boasts an array of eco-friendly projects, ranging from residences to resorts and community buildings. Troppo Architects aims to create spaces that respond to the local climate, utilising passive solar design, rainwater harvesting, and innovative cooling strategies. Their buildings blend seamlessly into the landscape, leaving a lasting impression on the sustainable fabric of Byron Bay.

One of their notable projects, First Creek House, is a home that embraces the site’s steep contours. The design features suspended concrete slabs, earthy materials, and a landscaped courtyard that changes with the seasons. Troppo Architects has received international recognition and was the first Australian recipient of the LOCUS Foundation Global Award for Sustainable Architecture.

Zaher Architects

Zaher Architects is a boutique architecture firm located in the hinterland of Byron Bay, dedicated to designing luxurious, eco-friendly homes. Their work is influenced by this beautiful region of New South Wales, as well as the personal and collective histories of their clients. They believe in explaining all options in terms of cost, aesthetics, maintenance, durability, and sustainability, ensuring their clients are able to make informed choices.

One of their recent projects, the Federal Residence, is a modern bungalow nestled in the garden as a graceful nod to mid-century modernism. The design reflects the natural context, utilising natural materials and incorporating features like water collection and solar power. The result is a house that stands as a modern sculpture in the garden, celebrating modernist architecture in the provincial Australian landscape.

Aspect Architecture

Established in 2000 by Matt Cooper, Aspect Architecture is a boutique practice situated near the beautiful beaches of Kingscliff. Composed of architects and architectural graduates, they are known for creating beautiful, unique, and personable spaces that respond meaningfully to their settings and occupants. They value craftsmanship, collaboration, creativity, and strive for socially and environmentally sustainable designs.

One of their featured projects, Fingal Oasis, is an integrated landscape, studio, and pool designed to enhance the entry experience of an already distinguished home. Inspired by the natural context of Fingal Head, the design takes cues from the surrounding landscapes, including tidal rock pools, rainforests, and basalt rock formations. By incorporating natural materials and lush subtropical landscaping, the project creates a green connection between the street, the house, and the rainforest.

 

 

Our architectural landscape is enriched by the visionary work of Dominic Finlay Jones Architects, Harley Graham Architects, Troppo Architects, Zaher Architects, and Aspect Architecture, not to mention all the other incredible architects in our region. These firms exemplify the fusion of sustainable design principles, innovative techniques, and a deep respect for the natural environment. Through their thoughtful creations, they contribute to a greener and more sustainable future, inspiring both residents and visitors to embrace the beauty of eco-conscious living.

Designer, developer and strategist at AC Office.

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