Alexander Symes Architect
It is the mission of Alexander Symes Architect to create beautiful and functional built environments that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable. With over 12 years experience working for Arup, g+v architecture and Gunter Schwartz design, Alex has a diverse design and technical skill set – from the design of furniture to the world’s most sustainable skyscrapers. Alex’s skills in urban design, architecture, building physics, facade system design and direct manufacture make him the ultimate integrated designer of projects of multiple scales.
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The brief was to design a family home that simultaneously connected with the surrounding coastal and Illawarra escarpment. The dwelling includes world leading sustainability initiatives such as; an electronic home user guide (hug) to assist the family with operating their home; recycled and low environmental impact materials; high performance thermal envelope including high transparency glass to appreciate the amazing surrounding views; a passive thermal comfort strategy to avoid the need for air-conditioning; solar hot water heating and electricity generation to make the dwelling energy positive (produces more energy than it uses) which is then exported back to the grid; ecological learning devices for children such as the water cycle and indigenous landscape. The project was designed in collaboration with Furio Valich of g+v architecture.
Little Austinmer Beach House
Sited in a beautiful position bookended by the beach and the Illawarra escarpment, the brief was to adapt the existing dwelling into a high performance, sustainable family home. To achieve this, as much of the existing dwelling was retained for re-use, harmoniously working with new, high recycled content and low environmental impact materials externally and internally. The high performance thermal envelope includes high transparency glass to appreciate the amazing surrounding views and insulation to minimise on going heating and cooling. High-light windows which frame long horizontal views are shaded by an effortlessly thin roof which appears to hover when illuminated.
Bonnet Bay, 2009
This extension is an example of affordable adaptive re-use. This existing family home on a steep suburban street backing onto bush had a steep tiled roof covering the first floor balcony to protect the internal rooms from the hot western sun. The Brief was to add a covered outdoor room and re-invent the conventional brick veneer and painted timber balcony to fit within its bush context. This economical solution was created by a western sunshade to block out the sun so that the internal spaces could be used all year round whilst framing the beautiful views of the Georges River.