Dylan Gower – the art and science of architecture and Ecologically Sustainable Development

Author: Centroc User
Date: January 30, 2012
Category: Community Groups, Sustainable Living

Dylan Gower is an architect driven by a desire to see Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) embraced in regional NSW through public works, commercial and residential development.

“Regional Victoria is just so much better advanced in this area,” says Dylan, who would like to use his skills and background to encourage a much greater uptake of ESD principles in regional New South Wales.

Dylan Gower

Dylan moved his family and his architectural practice, d-CONSTRUCT architects, from Sydney to Cowra five years ago. One of the reasons for the move was his involvement, along with his wife Phoebe, in the development of the innovative CORRIDOR Project on a property near Wyangala. The name CORRIDOR was chosen to suggest both corridors of learning and corridors of trees, and the project involves the reinvigoration of an old woolshed into a centre for cultural creativity and learning, with some serious backing from the creative big end of town. Recently, members of the Bell Shakespeare Company participated in a five day workshop on the property.

Like much of Dylan’s work, the CORRIDOR Project is a dynamic blend of the arts, design, and the philosophy of Ecologically Sustainable Development.

While d-CONSTRUCT continues to work on metropolitan projects, Dylan is increasingly driven by his desire to see ESD principles embraced in regional NSW. As an architect with a background in ESD,  he was invited to join Cowra Council’s Natural Resource Management Advisory Committee, and, in August 2011, he was the convenor of the Energise Central NSW conference in Cowra.

“In consulting with councils I hope to assist them in identifying opportunities within their own communities and assisting them to develop strategies in implementing appropriate change toward sustainable development,” he says. “In some cases this may be minor policy change such as Development Control Plans or more significant strategies to implement directions for potential sustainable economic development and change.”

While ESD principles form a philosophical framework for Dylan’s work, guiding his approach to design, they do not define his style. His designs share a strong sense of materiality, whether it be the corrugated iron and hardwood of an old woolshed or the concrete and stainless steel of  the Watsons Bay Baths.

The CORRIDOR Project’s revamped wool-shed

In 2007 Dylan was awarded the Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarship for which he completed a comparative study of two water catchment areas – the Lachlan River in NSW and the Berg River north of Cape Town in South Africa.

“(I was) exploring issues of sustainability around themes of water, energy and waste and what approaches had been taken in the respective catchments and how this impacted on sustainable development,” he says.

In 2009, Dylan travelled to Stockholm  to participate in a Master Class in Sustainability Change Agentry at the ISIS Academy. His lecturer, Alan Atkisson, is the author of The Sustainability Transformation: How to accelerate positive change in challenging times.

“Two aspects that I came away (from the Master Class) with were Systems Thinking and a methodological approach to strategic planning,” explains Dylan. “The first is about the interrelationship of aspects within a system, the impact of a decision or policy and what causal effect it may have in the future. The second was working with the ISIS methodology, a strategic approach that Alan Atkisson has developed for assisting government, communities, business and corporations to implement sustainable change.”

Ecologically Sustainable Development

“This is philosophically-based strategy, attempting to readdress the imbalance of current practices, by creating a harmonious and lasting built environment, with the utilisation of suitable energy sources, whilst having consideration for the maintenance of the natural state and availability of resources. Fundamental to the implementation of ESD, is the consideration by the building designer during the design process, as to the principles involved.

Site and environment: Minimise the use of non-renewable energy and to maintain and restore biodiversity.

Design practice and process: Consideration and responsibility during the design process for principles involved.

Material selection and specification: The selection and appropriateness of materials and embodied energy of their product.

Construction method and implementation: Creating energy efficient environments to provide seasonal and diurnal comfort and energy savings.

Equipment and alternative energies: The utilisation of alternative renewable energies and the selection of suitable services and appliances.

Water supply and Waste disposal management: The collection of water resources and the disposal of waste”

(Quoted from the d-CONSTRUCT website)


d-CONSTRUCT architects http://www.d-construct.com.au/practice.html

Sustainable Cowra (including information on Cowra Council’s Natural Resource Management Advisory Committee) www.sustainablecowra.com.au

Alan Atkisson and the ISIS Master Class http://www.atkisson.com/

2 Responses to “Dylan Gower – the art and science of architecture and Ecologically Sustainable Development”

  1. "Watching grand designs reinforces the fact that we need to focus on both managing and building more sustainably. Keep up the good work & Plant a tree 4 me."

  2. "good on you Dylan, it is good to see that somebody is still trying to make NSW wake up to itself about the environment."

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