Living Future Institute of Australia calls for Australia’s most sustainable heritage listed building design

Living Future Institute of Australia

Architects, designers and students to compete for the ILLUMANATE Living Building Challenge® Design Competition, redefining the future of the built environments through restorative architecture

26 July | The Living Future Institute of Australia (LFIA) today launches the highly anticipated ILLUMANATE Living Building Challenge® Design Competition in partnership with Development Victoria.

The competition calls on architects, designers and students to create the most sustainable, and restorative, heritage-listed building in Australia, which must live up to precise environmental, self-sustaining standards, including generating its own energy and capturing and treating its own water.

The Living Building Challenge® Certification is a high-performance program that sets the benchmark for buildings that go beyond sustainability with regenerative design. It’s one of the most advanced measures of sustainability worldwide.

This year’s competition follows the success of the last event held in 2016 which led to the creation of Burwood Brickworks Shopping Centre in Melbourne. More than 40 organisations and 100 individuals competed to push the boundaries of regenerative design to create the most certifiably sustainable shopping centre in the world.

LFIA is now turning its attention to existing buildings, which constitute a significant portion of our built environment. With estimates suggesting that up to 80% of buildings that will exist in 2050 already exist today, achieving Net Zero by then necessitates deep retrofits.

This year’s competition will centre around a heritage-listed building constructed in the 1970’s for the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works (MMBW), located in the western Melbourne suburb of Sunshine North. This building is integrated within Development Victoria’s broader plan to facilitate a sustainable mixed use development of the site with residential, retail and community uses.

The Competition aims to break the misconception that only new buildings can be regenerative and bridge the gap in skills that exist within the current industry. LFIA is committed to demonstrating the remarkable potential that emerges from integrating the standards and principles of the Living Building Challenge into preexisting structures.

Why is this important? In a time where the built environment generates 40% of annual global CO2 emissions regenerative design presents a pathway to change, where buildings go beyond being merely green and become restorative, giving back to the people who inhabit them, the land they stand on, and the resources they utilise. This is crucial in order to continue working towards creating an environmentally thriving planet. Investing in the future is pivotal, towards a place where modern architecture forges a unity between design and nature.

LFIA CEO Laura Hamilton-O’Hara commented:, “We’re here to maximise the positive. Usually the focus for the industry is on doing less bad, but actually it’s about doing better, for both society and the planet. A Living Building generates its own energy using renewables, acts as part of the hydrological cycle of the site, and takes into account embodied energy in materials and tools used. Regenerative Buildings are our theory of change and what they do is create people who can see the world differently. They can see what’s possible, pushing the boundaries of design and architecture to become truly regenerative.

“The Living Building Challenge is the Everest of green building rating tools. We can’t wait to see the entries for this year’s Challenge.”

Chair of the LFIA board Vanessa Trowell added: “The most sustainable building is one that already exists. So we need to embrace the idea of retrofitting and reimagining an existing building to create regenerative spaces. We can’t always start from scratch.”

Development Victoria CEO Angela Skandarajah says the organisation is delighted to partner with LFIA in this latest Living Building Challenge. “We’re proud of Development Victoria’s strong and clear commitment to creating a sustainable future. Our aim is to ensure we leave a strong legacy across our portfolio, through best practice sustainable construction and development.”

As part of a global movement spearheaded by International Living Future Institute (ILFI), LFIA is actively revolutionising the built environment with regenerative design principles. Pioneering projects such as the Living Building Challenge, Biophilic Design Initiative, and Just and Declare aim to replenish resources, foster a deep connection with nature, and regenerate life itself.

LFIA invites architects, designers, students and industry professionals to try their hand and explore the untapped potential of revitalising our built environment.

/Public Release.