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You’ve changed every bulb in your house to LED ones. You’ve installed solar panels so that you can generate energy. You’ve even switched to using a hybrid car. All this is done with the intention of being environmentally-friendly.

Adrian Iredale, 43, may not be convinced though. His pet peeve is something he refers to as “green wash”. “Everyone wants to be green. They buy these solar panels and think they’re saving energy. Then, they have a LCD television in every room. Actually, they end up using more energy. Being green doesn’t mean being greedy.”

As the founding partner of an award-winning Australian-based architecture practice, Iredale Pedersen Hook (IPH), Iredale was in town recently to present a lecture as part of the Lysaght Design Lecture Series organised by BlueScope Lysaght in partnership with Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia.

He explained IPH’s philosophy to sustainable architecture, focusing on modern approaches such as adaptive reuse and sustainability beyond materials.

Although the practice has undertaken a large quantity of projects, Iredale insists that “each project is considered in its own right and each one has a huge impact on the family.”

The focus

Recounting the path he’s taken professionally thus far, Iredale says: “I’ve always loved technical drawing — the kind that uses pencils, rulers and instruments. I was almost an accountant until a surfer friend asked me, ‘Can you really be an accountant?’

“After I completed my degree, I went to Europe and, in particular, Berlin, to do some informal research. I like that in Berlin while the exterior of a building is a manifestation of spatial development, the focus is about the function of the interior. Some of these buildings, like the Philharmonic Hall, increase the engagement of the audience.”

When Iredale returned to Australia, he did work in a commercial practice “but “soon became disillusioned. I found that they were no longer fulfilling the real issues of design. I needed to experiment myself and, in 1998, I left.”
This father of two, who is married to another architect, was keen on “realising the dreams of his clients.”

The approach

Iredale says: “Architects imagine broad scale issues for a city. Then we break it down into details. We fluctuate between a broader perception or a minute feature. Each one is related to the other.”

He illustrates this last point by referring to the renovations he’s done to his home.

“When we removed the tiles, we found some terrazzo. The aim was to decide what to keep, what to remove and how to bring it all together. You should preserve, integrate and adapt. In that way, what remains exists in absolute harmony.”

Iredale then turns to one of the most interesting projects he continues to work on: Upgrading the Perth Zoological Gardens Orang-utan Enclosure.

“We started this work in 1999. We were asked to design the enclosure for the orang-utans. It was a collaborative project between us and the keepers of these primates. Those keepers are the ones with the knowledge. The more we drew, the more they gave their input. For instance, they would tell us things like how far an orang-utan could reach. The new enclosure we created for these orang-utans is a prototype.”

The core intent of the new enclosure was to reuse an existing facility, upgrade it for new patterns of use and adopt a contemporary lifestyle that embraces new practices in animal husbandry.

What Iredale and his team were certain about was that the enclosure must not become a Disneyland with a theme park feel to it.

In the process, Iredale and his team hoped that the 30-year-old enclosure would become more appealing to the public and increase the richness of the arboreal opportunities available to the orang-utans.

Iredale says that 90 per cent of the things like trees that simulate the physical complexities of a rainforest were made using reused materials.
“For example, the poles are from old power lines. The timber is from recycled jarrah wood. You can still see the old bolt holes and where nails were hit into them. The ropes the orang-utans swing from are from decommissioned naval vessels. And, when we painted the enclosure, we removed the face brick and gave it a sand-finish render. No paint was used. Also, the apparatus created allowed the orang-utans to move on things that moved in their own right.”

Read complete at: Designs on green living wrote by Aneeta Sundararaj

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