The Banksia Foundation is a renowned not-for-profit organisation that works closely with industry professionals and members of the community to recognise designers and individuals for their positive contribution to the environment and sustainable practices. The organisation was established in 1989 by an array of Australians all striving for the shared goal to do more to acknowledge and support members of the community for their contribution to the environmental and sustainability sector.
The prestigious award identifies and acknowledges the candidates for the award as having excellent sustainable credentials that are in line with their community, and it inspires further progress and movement towards environmentally sustainable developments within Australia. The organisation is sponsored and partnered with a range of socially esteemed organisations, including the Australian Government, Australia Post and EY and as such, winners are connected with a network of key figures within the industry. They are given media recognition, their project is nationally recognised and awarded, and the Banksia Award can be utilised within the company or individual’s marketing strategy and activity. The foundation hosts awards spanning across a range of fields, with companies such as BioPak, Glam Corner, ALDI and Sodexo all previously in the running for the prestigious and influential accolade.
The 2020 winner of the distinguished award was the Arkadia Apartments, designed by award-winning architects DKO and BREATHE Architecture. The multi-residential apartment complex in Alexandria has paved the way for a new era of sustainable development. Built from half a million recycled bricks, the building challenges typical city living and has created a community combining lush green spaces and stunning apartments with sustainable initiatives. This winning project demonstrates that inner city living doesn’t need to be synonymous with a disconnect from nature, and that through thoughtful design, residents can enjoy urban living that embraces their natural environment.
The sustainable characteristics of Arkadia apartments are unmistakable, as the building’s incredible recycled brick façade symbolises the building’s ecological ethos that is represented from the inside out. For this project, the design team chose Brickworks’ Bowral Bricks in Bowral Blue, which have a tactile aesthetic and are the perfect cool brown. The use of brick as the predominant building material was integral to lowering the environmental footprint of the apartment complex. Made from shale and clay which is naturally abundant, bricks are a healthy and environmentally sensitive building material. They can be reused with their original properties and features intact, and because bricks do not contain harsh chemicals, plastics or artificial compounds, brick buildings are healthy environments to live in.
The message behind the recycled bricks is an optimistic anecdote of finding your way home. Many of the bricks used in this project returned to their place of origin, this origin being the Old City Brick Factory, owned by Brickworks. This Arkadia development is at the old site of our City Brick Factory, and thus, the bricks have been recycled and come full circle to be reborn into this new project. This amazing renaissance demonstrates the durability and recyclability of brick as a sustainable building material.
The ability to reuse brick also lengthens their lifecycle and ensures the energy used in their manufacture is spread over a longer period of time, thereby taking advantage of its longer lifecycle to achieve greater efficiency in energy use. The use of brick is also a significant part of the building’s passive solar design, which optimises the sun’s exposure to heat and cool the building’s interior.
The contemporary project has re-imagined urban dwelling, and has created a lifestyle for its residents that is a marriage of inner-city convenience, and ecologically-centred community.
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