Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Bubble sketch stage

07 55987337  0418 747630
Hi All,
in my previous post, I explained a bit about my business and a lot about the procedure of
getting houses designed, or duplex, apartments, eco resorts, ecovillages, additions and alterations etc.
I also wanted to explain how I go about designing a house as I know many of you will find this process interesting.  So I started with a case study of our own residence which is located in "The Currumbin Ecovillage"  http://theecovillage.com.au

Our home has been finished for over  5 years now and has been featured on TV and in documentaries - 7.30 Report, Totally Wild, Green Homes and Bacon and a German Doco.  It has also featured in Best Abodes Book No.4, Panache Magazine, Gold Coast Bulletin Best 50 Homes (9th place) and various trade literature.  It won 2009 BDAQ Regional Winner of Custom Designed Homes.

The ecovillage is a Multi Award winning world leading sustainable development.  It has won over 32 International, National, State and Local awards including "The World's best Environmental Development" the FIABCI Prix D'Excellence Award 2008 and also the Australian Institute of Architects 2013 QLD Presidents Prize.  Having designed over 30 homes here I like to think I had something to do with winning those awards....
I have been on the Architectural Review panel since it's inception, been chairman and have only recently resigned late 2013 after 6 years.

We purchased our block of land here in 2006, a moderately sloping block of land facing north with great views over a lot of the village and views of a pond to the west and a pond to the east, we have a hill protecting us to the rear which has a native hoop pine forest growing on it.
Basically it's an ideal orientation and is 760 sq.m size, with no fences and we have extra land all around us for growing fruit trees on.  Some of which is Mango, Avocado, Banana, Paw paw, Lychee, Finger Lime, Mandarin and many more yet to plant (early days)...

So as explained briefly in the procedure part of my first blog we start off with a bubble sketch diagram of where we want the rooms roughly located.  When we purchased the land we are given a Lot Evaluation which points out a few of the mandatory requirements, like where the garage is expected to go, the driveway, the setbacks from boundary, where we are expected to grow the vegies etc and where our more private garden areas might be.  These are mainly guidelines but if you want to have the garage or driveway in a different spot you need to ask for a relaxation, same if you want to build over the setback lines.

Our garage was expected to be located at the rear of the block and that was a sensible position so we left it there and that's where I started the base design from.
The reason it's sensible is that the least desirable aspects for house design in australia is the south west,
because it's the hottest location in summer and the coldest location in winter.  Typically us house designers try to locate the garages and services in that area.  Garages, laundry and bathrooms
make a good buffer, or insulator for the more habitable rooms like living areas and bedrooms.

The design is now starting to take shape.  I have the rooms in the right spot, but they aren't yet to scale and may need shifting once I have located the exact position of trees and setbacks etc.
In the top pavilion (north) I have a balcony to the left which capitalises on great views over a pond, our greenway that we share with our 4 neighbours in this hamlet, the creek and then over the village. This balcony blocks the summer western sun from our living room but still allows the winter sun in as the angle is lower.  The living room also gets views over the village.  Next we have the dining and kitchen, then a wall separating our main bedroom.  You could say this pavilion is the main adult area and the kids are in the south pavilion.

Below it is roughly to scale.  You will notice the red lines to each side which shows the boundaries and curved red lines show the half metre contours which shows the slope of the land.
Below is the north pavilion which contains the main living areas and master bedroom.

Below is the south pavilion which has the garage to the west and bedroom 2 to the east.  Bed 3 only has a view over the courtyard and south to bush.  Oh well, she had the best view in the last house. 
It's still early on in the design development stage and many changes are yet to occur.


Excuse the angle of writing, but it's the same house design, starting to harden up.
Solid lines are drawn, contours and levels shown.  Garage has turned into a carport and angle of access has changed.  Using cupboards as columns to hold the roof up.  Office layout has changed.  Dining room has become round with a curved wall separating the entry.  A concrete water tank has become the dining room floor.  A day bed has been added in front of the dining room, and a small balcony.

Now for the section.  This is a cross section taken through the land and building to show that it sits on the block with minimal excavation and to make sure the design works thermally.  I need to ensure that the summer sun doesn't penetrate the windows and the midday winter sun does.  If the midday winter sun gets in then it will the rest of the day as it is a lower angle.  This will warm the house all day, hitting the thermal mass walls (shall explain in another blog) and then releasing that warmth at night.  Notice the winter sun hitting the sides of the concrete water tank which is our dining room floor.

Next I have proceeded to put all the walls into the computer.  BUT I am still not happy with it.
back onto the drawing board to work out some more changes.  I have placed some tracing paper over the computer drawing and have started to straighten the south pavilion up as it was too complex and would be expensive.  Am starting to design the landscaping also.
Have removed the laundry from my office (that was never going to work) and it is now in the study which is now actually a massage room where my wife does amazing Kahuna massages.  Which was by the way going to be the kids hang out area (sorry kids, they'll have to hang out with us :)

There are still more changes to come but the rest are done in the computer and that is for the next blog.
So for now, thanks for reading and I hope you have gleaned something from it.

You can learn more about what we do and see samples of my designs on our website http://www.willcollinsdesign.com.au   and http://www.goldcoastbuildingdesigners.com.au
or our business facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/WillCollinsDesign   and  https://www.facebook.com/Goldcoastbuildingdesigners or follow us on Instagram  Gold Coast Building Designers.


Saturday, 12 April 2014

Introduction to Will Collins Design

07 55987337  0418 747630

Hi everyone,
I'm very excited to be creating my first blog about residential design.
I now have over 30 years experience in the building industry having designed my first home
approximately 34 years ago and I'm keen to share my experience with you whether you are a student,
a couple wanting me to design your home or somebody who just finds Australian architecture interesting.
I have had my own business since 1993 which is now almost exactly 21 years ago.  So you could say this blog, and my recent foray into business facebook and instagram is the 21st birthday celebration of my building design business. We are located on the Gold Coast and have had my designs widely published with various media and also seen on TV in such shows as 60 Minutes, 7.30 Report, Totally Wild and Green Homes and Bacon.  I design anything residential, as far apart as Victoria to Mackay, Fiji and China.  You can learn more about what we do and see samples of my designs on our website http://www.willcollinsdesign.com.au/   or my business facebook page https://www.facebook.com/WillCollinsDesign   or follow me on Instagram  Will Collins Design.
Better yet, check out my introductory You Tube clip, it's only 90 sec long:

I want to start by describing the procedure that's involved in getting a house, duplex, apartment building, or renovations and alterations up and running.  It usually begins with either a call or email from you, the client who has already made the purchase of a block of land or an existing house.  But I am happy to do pre- inspections of land or existing homes that might need renovation or additions.
Below is a sample of how the procedure works, but to make it more interesting I am going to do a case study using my own block of land and show how it's done step by step showing photo's of the land,
initial bubble sketch's showing rough room locations, proper pencil sketch's, then computer drawings of plans, elevations etc, then 3D's, then photo's of the house being constructed and the various materials used and then photo's of the completed work.

Initial meeting:
Usually have at our office to ascertain the brief and get a feel for your residential project. This entails discussions on proposed ideas, problem areas, council restrictions and general practical advice.
This design consultation is charged at an hourly rate.
If you decide you like what we offer, a fee submission is prepared and emailed to you. This
fee submission sets out whatʼs included, whatʼs not included and the stages of the design and documentation process.
If the fee submission is met with approval, an “authority to start” form will need to be signed
and the process of designing your project can come to fruition. This “authority to start” is a
working contract for both parties so that have assurance that you know what you are getting.
A site investigation is organised. Measurements and photos are taken. If necessary a contour survey plan is organised. 
All information gathered so far is utilised to create a great design.
Sketch plans are produced in pencil format for your perusal. We discuss in great detail,
positions of rooms, windows, kitchen layout ... All information gathered is utilised to enable a
quality workable design for your individual requirements. You then take the plans home and live with them for awhile, trying to imagine yourself living in these new exciting spaces. 
When you feel ready, weʼll discuss any changes that maybe required.
Once you have approved the sketch plans we move on to building the residence in the
computer. This results in a 3d model that can be viewed & analysed from any angle. This
visual software can enable any details of the plan to be fine tuned with great clarity showing materials and colours and special features.
We also produce solar penetration 3dʼs. This shows where the sun is hitting the house or
penetrating the windows at different times of year. This is very handy for pointing out potential hot spots in summer. The last thing you want is the sun penetrating your living room at 3pm in summer.
Once your happy with the 3D model, documentation for council purposes can proceed. This is where plans are thoroughly dimensioned and includes detailed notation explaining any unusual features. Building Code, Council regʼs and Engineers requirements are also incorporated.
A site plan is produced showing where the building sits in relation to the survey contour plan,
northpoint, services, sewer and storm water.
All floor plans, elevations, sections and details are produced ready for the builder to quote on.
Any extra details of individual features can be documented at this stage. One copy of the
plans are produced in colour for clarity and presentation purposes. The finished plans are then ready to submit to the certifier for building approval.
Our service doesʼnt necessarily end there. We can also provide a full package including Interior design & cabinetry details, Landscape design, Lighting & Electrical Layouts.
This is a brief explanation of the process, a lot more goes on behind the scenes of course.

So below is some photo's of the block of land that we purchased back in about 2005, wow time flies....
Our house now sits in front of the pine trees but behind the 3 little trees to the left

This shot shows the 3 little trees that were removed before we bought.  There is now a beautiful pond to the left near the white pegs.

The below photo shows the view from standing in the position where our western balcony now is looking over the ecovillage.  I can't wait to show you what it looks like now, but that will have to wait for later blogs as we are going to do this stage by stage and we can't jump to a finished house without going through the proper preparations first.  See you in my next blog and thank you spending the time with me.  I hope you enjoy this journey as much as I did.

You can learn more about what we do and see samples of my designs on our website http://www.willcollinsdesign.com.au   and http://www.goldcoastbuildingdesigners.com.au
or our business facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/WillCollinsDesign   and  https://www.facebook.com/Goldcoastbuildingdesigners or follow us on Instagram  Gold Coast Building Designers.