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Three emerging faces of sustainable design

A truly sustainable design approach needs to go beyond the average greenwashing that is often seen in projects. These are the people to keep an eye on…

(L-R) Mat Hinds and Jean Graham are shortlisted in the 2018 Sustainability Awards Emerging Architect of the Year Award, along with Sarah Lebner.

(L-R) Mat Hinds and Jean Graham are shortlisted in the 2018 Sustainability Awards Emerging Architect of the Year Award, along with Sarah Lebner.

The Sustainability Awards recently released its shortlist for 2018, but the program doesn’t just recognise outstanding architectural work. It also gives kudos to the people behind the work. This trio of fresh faces represents the next generation of sustainable practice, and they also happen to be incredibly young as well as uber talented.

Who will ultimately take the title of Emerging Architect of the Year? That’s still to be revealed.

In the meantime, let’s look a bit more closely at the emerging talent from our country.

Jean Graham (Winter Architecture)

Just over two years ago, Jean Graham established Winter Architecture. Jean considers herself secondary to the practice, straying away from the fulfilment of a self-titled practice. Instead, Jean has elected to translate the quiet, introspective, site-specific qualities of Winter – the season – into an Architectural dictum.

With varied budgets and a range of client backgrounds, Winter Architecture has opened up the possibility of architecture to a number of clients who did not feel architecture was accessible to them, due to low budgets, difficult site restrictions and the desire to build themselves.

The Winter Architecture team are from a multi-disciplinary background with many of its staff collaborating from a distance, located all across Australia. This unique arrangement of a design studio evokes a diverse appreciation and approach to design. The practice has adopted an online mode of working, in order to engage and collaborate with each other remotely. This approach enables the practice to directly engage with a range of localities and to not be bound by the fixed nature of a traditional studio.

Mathew Hinds (Taylor & Hinds)

Mathew’s work is characterised by an abiding awareness of Tasmania’s architectural traditions – and seeks to foster deep social and environmental connections, through a high level of quality in architectural ideation and execution. I co-founded my practice with Poppy Taylor in 2011. Our clients include private individuals, local government, and not-for-profit foundations. Mathew says that he considers buildings as an extension of the landscape condition, and seeks conceptual rigour in resolving ideas from poetic abstraction toward the reality of everyday needs. Since establishment, the practice he has twice received the Tasmanian Chapter’s Esmond Dorney Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New) (2015 & 2017), and the 2017 Edith Emery Award for Residential Architecture Houses (Alterations and Additions), as well as a number of other national industry awards.

Since graduating in 2006, Mathew has maintained a teaching and lecturing presence within the Masters of Architecture program. In conjunction with practice, he has held Associate Lecturer and Honorary Research positions at the School of Architecture and Design at UTAS, and in 2017, he was an External Examiner for the Masters of Architecture Program. Mathew has also taught as a Guest Lecturer at Bond University (2016), and at the L’Ecole d’Architecture de l’Université Internationale de Rabat, in Morocco (2012).

Sarah Lebner (Light House Architecture and Science)

Since joining Light House Architecture & Science (then known as Jigsaw Housing) as a graduate architect in 2013, Sarah’s career trajectory has been stellar. In the years since, she has achieved registration, won several awards, developed the company’s modular system, and risen to the position of the company’s lead architect. She is running a dynamic, effective, and happy design team, and despite her relative youth is respected as a generous and collaborative colleague by all Light House staff and many people from the broader industry.

As a student and graduate architect Sarah was a valued team member in the delivery of notable precinct shaping buildings such as The Avenue, one of the earlier rejuvenation projects on Canberra’s gateway avenue, and ‘Dockside’, one of the first buildings to bring residential and mixed-use activity to the reclaimed ‘Kingston Foreshore’ precinct.

Sarah was one of the founding members of ‘CanberraLab’; a group of young architects determined to activate the city through ‘ground up’ interventions.

As well as ‘Dear Marion’, a collaboration between CanberraLab and artist Kathryn Scott, brought Walter Burley Griffin back to Canberra in a series of installations throughout the city.

Sarah has shown innovation in leadership by, for example, implementing a mentoring and knowledge-sharing system, inviting other local architects to join us for informal, collaborative sessions. The format varies from of group discussions over lunch, to one-on-one meetings. This successful program has been praised by both the members of the Light House team and the visiting collaborators.

This group of local talent shows just how much innovation there is to celebrate. The winner will be announced at the Sustainability Awards Gala on Thursday 11 October. Tickets are available here.

The Emerging Architect of the Year category is proudly presented by Hewlett Packard.


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