The Local Brisbane Architects have won the 2014 Rural Development Award for the state of Queensland Australia. Nominated amongst other firms like James R Consultants, New Builder Media and Raffeallo D’Andra and Consultants; Local Brisbane Architects was the standout candidate.

Lord Jim Sorley, The Mayor of Brisbane has said that Local Brisbane Architects contribution to society, particularly in the rural areas, should be commended. “It’s great work to see that they have gone up and beyond, and the buildings that they have designed will surely reduce costs. We’ve cleared the plans to develop the units early 2015, in time for the flood seasons. We really think that the aboriginal community will be very grateful to the new dwellings.”

The Competition

This competition was to see who could develop the most economical dwelling for the lower socio-economic persons in the rural areas. Several designs put forward which used a variety of techniques were presented to the committee.

New Builder Media presented an unconventional design, using PVC sheet metal and HVAC plastic. “We wanted to go with an igloo feel. We’ve done our research and the shape has excellent heat and cooling properties which we thought would be very appreciated in the west of Queensland”.

On the other hand, James R Consultants went with a more traditional approach with low cost sheet plaster and alloy roofing. “The walls were very thin, but we thought this would be advantageous due to the high heat of the area. Ultimately, this was our downfall as we didn’t expect to see such low temperatures in the Scida Valley.”

Lastly, Local Brisbane Architects design of using old shipping containers produced a fresh and interesting approach. “There are a lot of these units in the Rock Lea area. Just moving them down from there and re-using as housing means that we need to spend less on construction. It’s somewhat gratifying that containers that were used once to ship produces overseas are now being used as housing. We hope that the designs that we put out there will be taken with gusto by the Aboriginals of this area”.

“The designs used some plumbing innovation and were used to recycle the rain water. As the dwellings were built completely off the grid, we had to come up with a rain catchment system. We adopted designs that were used in the Nevada Desert, and used a combination of low cost air conditioning and solar grids to clean the water. As for the electricity, we are using a combination of Indian Solar Panels and Wind Turbines. Although the turbines are very small, they do give sufficient power to charge small devices such as an iPhone or small laptop.”

The Project

Depending on how the community accepts the new buildings, we will roll out and mass produce to the rest of Australia by 2015. “It would be great if we could make over 5000 units for use in the rural bush. We expect that these new dwellings will improve the education of the Aboriginals and it will be one step closer to fully integrating these indigenous people into the Australian Society”

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