Sustainable building designs in New Zealand VS Asia | Collingridge and Smith Architects | Phil Smith

phil Smith

Today’s Building design will soon need to meet the demand of the future towards sustainability. Sustainable design can be achieved by minimizing negative impacts and maximizing positive impacts on environmental system over the life cycle of the building. The field of sustainable design seeks to balance the needs of the impacts on environment by using an integrated approach to create a win-win design solutions. Phil Smith is running the development that increases the understanding of green building practices and sustainable urban design, delivering more sustainable outcomes for the built environment.

Phil Smith, the winner of Leadership in Sustainable Design and Performance at Asia Pacific Networks Awards by the World Green Building Council, shares his thoughts exclusively with AsiaGreenBuildings on his definition on sustainable building and different practices in New Zealand and Asian markets. Phil is the Director at Collingridge and Smith Architects who designed Te Mirumiru building, a highly sustainable child centre building in New Zealand.


How would you define sustainable design and performance of a building in today’s practices and what issues have you’ve encountered in it?

Truly sustainable design has to look beyond just the building itself and deal with societal and economic issues as well as wider building related issues such as site location, ecology, transport,etc.

The main issues is the lack of awareness of what can be achieved and the real costs of this – when we give our clients a long term view of the building costs and the paybacks achievable with sustainable design they are able to understand the true cost to them of not going ‘green’.

The wider industry still focuses too much on the main topics of sustainable design such as energy or water reduction without holistic thinking.

Have there been any significant differences in New Zealand and the Asian market in terms of sustainability practices?

Definitely. I would say the Asian market is much more building focused in its approach to sustainable design – more focused on reduction than synergies.

 In New Zealand, we have moved beyond just the building to look at societal issues and synergies possible by good urban design and mixed use in buildings. By encouraging a mix of uses in a building for example, private transport needs can be eliminated at source instead of encouraging the provision of small car parks or car pooling which is still promoting car usage and fossil fuels.

In Auckland, we are promoting walking and encouraging mixed use schemes that allow people to work within 10 mins walk from their homes.

What would be the future innovative practices to achieve sustainable design?

I would say life cycle assessment and costing to better understand and accurately encourage the business case for implementing sustainable design. In terms of technologies, it’s our understanding of passive sustainable design and our ability to design and predict it using software continues to get better every year.


This exclusive interview is facilitated under a Media Partnership with the WorldGBC Asia Pacific Network Award Roadshow, at which Phil Smith  is one of the winners.



About Collingridge and Smith Architects

Collingridge And Smith Architects (UK) Ltd. is an award winning international architectural practice, founded by Graham Collingridge and Phil Smith in 2012, delivering unique, innovative and sustainable architecture. With offices in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, Collingridge And Smith Architects (UK) Ltd. design and deliver projects that range from refurbishments to new-builds; from domestic scale to urban master plans; from conception to completion. Phil and Graham’s experience covers a broad range of typologies – masterplans, mixed-use schemes, residential; offices; cultural; educational; healthcare and childcare.


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