"Sustainability was a theme across all the categories, and has quickly become embedded in the core practice of architecture, with its rapid "mainstreaming". The Jury considers that the seperated category for sustainability may have built in obselescence - which, paradoxically, represents a kind of victory."
Carey Lyon, 2007 RAIA National Jury Chair.
Architecture Australia, Nov/Dec, 2007. pg. 73
a kind of victory?
"Lyon's Queenscliff Centre, the peak marine environment research facility in Victoria was designed seven years ago and finally completed in November after years in VCAT............It has achieved a 6 star rating even without the points that would have accrued from having a green expert on board from day one. Lyons estimate that the upfront capital contribution to achieve this rating has been less than ten percent......meeting it was well within the skills of normal practice."
Leon Van Schaik, Queenscliff Centre.
Architecture Australia, Jan/Feb, 2005 pg 54-55
The Green Building Council of Australia has never ratified this rating for this building.
The Green Building Council of Australia is the certifying body for the green star rating.
This building was unsuccessful in being certified as a Green Star Building at any level.
Is the blurring of facts in relation to claims - "mainstreaming" sustainability?
Is sustainability really yet within the skills of normal practice?
This year Kangan Batman TAFE won a National sustainability award - though its reported the chairman of the jury had to go and stand in the carpark while the remainder of the judges deliberated his office's entry.
(One wonders when some of these jurors will have the grace to not have a building in the awards they judge?)
Of Kangan it's been said.
"ACE stage One has achieved a five-star Green Star rating for design."
Stuart Harrison, Automotive centre of excellence.
AR 098, pg 101
"Kangan Batman TAFE has been acknowledged for the innovative and environmentally sustainable design of the Automotive Centre of Excellence building at the Docklands. This state of the art building already has a five star green star rating, because of its systems in place to reduce office greenhouse gas emmissions and water consumption."
Janette Sato (marketing and student relationship managment)
Kangan Batman Institute of TAFE.
Exactly which portion of the building is 5 star?
Is it the portion dedicated to offices that consitute a small part of the building?
Is it the Cafe?
Is it the extensively single glazed workshop area constituting the bulk of the building?
And is it true there is currently no green star rating tool for the workshop area (industrial) and therefore it is not rated?
The right tool - the industrial tool - has only just been released in a pilot version.
So how green is this building?
Maybe its still too soon to dispense with the Sustainability awards.
Having a category that keeps things focussed on the pointy end of what is still obviously a difficult area of technical expertise might be useful for a few more years.
Maybe then we can talk about "mainstreaming" sustainability successfully and mercantile offices can get on with what they do best - exploitation.