What can the past tell us about bushfire home design and getting help with your design?
The Bushfire Homes Service was created in response to the 2009 Black Saturday fires in Victoria, to help those needing to rebuild, and give access to free home designs.
This episode is Part 1 of my conversation with Julie Firkin, from Julie Firkin Architects.
In this episode, I’ll be talking about what’s been done in the past to help homeowners with the design of their homes when rebuilding after bushfire.
I’ll also be sharing some specific resources you can access if you need design help with your rebuild.
And I’ll be introducing architect Julie Firkin to you. She’ll be sharing some insights about bushfire home design, and her involvement in a scheme established by the Victorian Government after the Black Saturday fires in 2009.
In this episode, I ask Julie questions such as:
How did you go about creating a design for an imaginary client and imaginary site, whilst tackling the newly released BAL requirements at that time?
What drove your design ideas?
Knowing more now about bushfire resilient design and building, what would you do differently with that design and its materials?
For over 10 years, Julie Firkin Architects has been bringing creativity and problem-solving prowess to projects big and small in and around Melbourne.
An award-winning firm, headed up by architect Julie Firkin, they pride themselves on a personal and people-focussed approach to architecture. Julie has a hands-on approach to all projects and designs by visualising herself in the space which helps to create homes that are a joy to live in and spaces that are both practical and beautiful.
Julie studied and practiced internationally and worked for several years at renowned practices. She brings this breadth of experience to her private practice, weaving a local approach and an international perspective into everything she does.
While Julie Firkin Architects has the skills and expertise to deliver a range of projects, from residential to commercial, small to large, Julie has a personal interest in both sustainable and bushfire-resistant design.
Her design for a bushfire-resistant house was featured by the Bushfire Homes Service following the Black Saturday Bushfires in 2009 and Julie has also taught extensively on the subject.
In this episode, I wanted to take a little time to talk about a scheme that was launched by the Victorian government after the Black Saturday fires of 2009.
It was called the Bushfire Homes Service. I’ll be sharing some information on what it involved, and also introducing architect Julie Firkin to you, who will tell us about her involvement, and the house she designed for it.
And I’ll also be talking about what’s been done in the design industry to provide support and help to those impacted by the 2019 / 2020 fires, and where you can go for help with your home design and build right now.
The day known as Black Saturday, is when, on 7 February, 2009, fires moved rapidly through Victoria and destroyed 2029 homes, and 173 people tragically lost their lives.
At the time, many parts of the building and design industry rallied together to offer help, and the Victorian Building Commission organised a series of “Built Environment Bushfire Support Roundables” where various organisations from the industry, including the Australian Institute of Architects, got together to discuss what services were needed and what could be offered by those in the industry.
And at the same time, the new bushfire construction standards that had been in the works for some time, were being accelerated to set the requirements for what rebuilds would need to adhere to, in order to be more bushfire resistant.
From those meetings, and the fact that many architects were offering their services pro bono to those who had lost their home, the Victorian Government Architect established the Bushfire Homes Scheme.
In the Bushfire Homes Service, architects were called to create an affordable design for a family home that met the (at that time) brand new BAL40 requirements, and prepare 4 x A3 pages documenting the house.
Eighteen home designs were chosen, costing reports were created by quantity surveyors, and these designs were made freely available to those rebuilding in affected locations.
The Bushfire Homes Service included some fantastic homes, and some big names in the Australian residential design industry. Renowned, award-winning architects like BVN Donovan Hill, Clare Cousins and John Wardle to name a few.
So, let’s hear more from Julie Firkin now.
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE NOW.
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS PODCAST:
Julie Firkin Architects
Articles on the Bushfire Homes Scheme
Bushfire-proof houses are affordable and look good – so why aren’t we building more? >>> The Guardian
Bushfire Pro Bono >>> IndesignLive
MARK MAGAZINE Article >>> “BLACK SATURDAY: 5 YEARS LATER” The Bushfire Homes Scheme