Masterplanning + Ecovillages

Narara Ecovillage – Ongoing

Gosford, NSW

The Narara Ecovillage Concept Plan for more than 120 houses recasts the former Gosford Horticultural Institute to make an open, engaging and diverse place – a place where people feel comfortable, having a sense of ownership and belonging. A great place to settle and live well.

Kirsten Hay was one of the four core founders that brought together interested individuals that enabled this project to proceed. Funded and owned by the Co-operative members this is a unique project, drawing people from around the world to join the ambitious plan.

The ecovillage is set in 63 hectares, surrounded on three sides by State Forest, a 45 megalitre dam and the convenience of suburbia outside it’s front gate. Off the grid for power and sewer, the village hopes to not only be a haven for its residents but also a site for education and retreat for the community more broadly.

Construction of the infrastructure has just commenced and Kirsten, as the Community Architect, is currently working closely with the members of the ecovillage to design a ‘Village Heart’ focusing on reusing some of the existing buildings for accommodation, dining and meal preparation. With environmental sustainability and social cohesion at its guiding principles the Narara Ecovillage hopes to inspire a new approach to how people design, build and live together.

The masterplanning was done in association with Hill Thalis.

Client Narara Eco-Village Co-operative
Location Gosford, NSW
Collaborator Hill Thalis

Sustainable Urban Village

Hamilton Hill, WA

This project was an amazing opportunity. It came about from conversations with the client and our shared concern for the erosion of community, the failure of existing planning to address this issue and housing affordability more generally. The client asked me to research and come up with a real project for an alternative housing solution.

After a lengthy period of research, consultation with local neighbourhood groups and participatory workshops a model community was designed. Learning from eco-villages and cohousing projects from across the world this development was planned to provide housing for 35 households, along with a small primary school and café/deli.

The development was located on a 7000m2 site in a suburnban Hamilton Hill. Although each house was designed with its own facilities there is an opportunity for using the shared play and entertaining areas, and facilities for communal dining and meal preparation.

Ideas of neighbourhood design and environmental sustainability were central to the project. The garden context enabled the houses to be relatively close while maintaining their privacy and security. The houses varied in size from small 45m2 apartments to much larger 150m2 homes. There was an overwhelmingly positive response from the community for this development but it did not proceed as the vendor withdrew the site from sale.

Client Hawaiian Property Group
Location Hamilton Hill, WA
Collaborator Robert Allan