We found it impossible to get anyone to ‘do’ our house design for us. We had approached that architect who didn’t follow through on our meeting and we had actually worked with a greensmart house designer for several weeks – who in the end admitted they didn’t like strawbale at all so we parted ways (interestingly they had previously designed a strawbale home...).
The Your Home Technical Manual published by the Australian government is actually a very good guide for building green (read this too!) and guided a lot of our materials selection – but it was Christopher Alexander’s Pattern Language that really showed me how to incorporate our needs and wants into a passive solar home that will ‘feel’ right too – that and running my 100’s of versions past our permaculture designer and strawbale builder supervisor – they set me on the straight and narrow when I was getting way off course – thankfully!!
We actually had what I thought was a pretty straight forward list of requirements for our ideal house:
© Rectangle shape and simple roof for bushfire safety and ease of building
© Distinct front door
© Kitchen with morning sunlight
© Pantry on the south
© ‘Water’ rooms grouped
© Private parents’ area
© Symmetry (it’s just the way my brain works!)
© Reading nooks
© Solar pergola
It really did seem simple enough to me – why couldn’t someone help us with it? But it didn’t happen, and when we left to move down here and were still nowhere near having any plans to get drawn up, I just had to accept that it would happen in its own time. We had already worked out (we might have been a bit slow on the uptake here I think ;-) that it we really needed to be down south, to be part of the community, meet people and find people to work with - so this was just part of it.
And being part of the community, meeting people and finding people to work with us, has been really easy now we are down here! Go figure!!