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Designers in tune with local conditions

THE region from the Goldfields to Esperance may soon become known for more than precious metals and beautiful beaches.

A series of housing designs that suit the extreme climates of the towns has been developed as a result of a statewide architectural competition, and the Goldfields Esperance Development Commission will now push for the designs to move from the drawing board and into reality.

The GEDC hopes the three winning designs from the Your Kinda House competition will become a signature for the region, in the same way the ‘Queenslander’ style homes are associated with outback Queensland.

Troppo Architects WA director Fiona Hogg won the category for the best housing design for the Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Goldfields, while Christopher James, of Christopher James Residential Design Specialists, took out the categories for Esperance and the South Coast and Transportable Housing for Rural and Remote Communities.

Ms Hogg’s winning design involved a central pavilion that could be opened on hot days so breezes could pass through and cool the house.

And during cooler times, the glass roof of the pavilion could be closed, resulting in a sheltered living space while also allowing air inside the pavilion to warm up and insulate the house.

Mr James’ winning entries were based on a modular approach to housing design.

The concept involves creating different bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and living area ‘modules’ and then fitting them together in whichever fashion the homebuilder wishes.

Different roof shapes, materials and colours also would be presented as options.

The competition was organised as part of a program by the GEDC and Australia Unlimited in a bid to promote the region as a viable place to live and work.

The competition also had the support of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, and WA president Warren Kerr hoped the communities would embrace the designs.

Mr Kerr said all Australians should consider environmentally appropriate designs because existing designs, which did not suit the country’s climate, were costing money.

“The heating and cooling of poorly designed houses is costing the government $60 million each year,” Mr Kerr said.

“People should be building environmentally sustainable houses that use solar design and are energy efficient.”

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