Healing value of architecture

THE use of bricks and mortar as a medium for social repair was examined by about 30 architects from around the state at a Tamworth conference last Friday.

Organised by the NSW Country Division of the Australian Institute of Architects, the conference revolved around the theme of Embracing the Whole: Architecture as a Medium For Social Repair.

It heard from three regional NSW professionals whose work in Australia and around the world proves the healing value of smart design and construction.

An electrical engineer also spoke to the group about different ways to optimise energy efficiency in their developments.  

For Tony McBurney, of Bathurst company integratedDESIGNgroup Architects, his dedication to the community and housing design have taken him and his team all the way to Uganda.

Since 2006, they’ve been working in conjunction with Watoto, an organisation assisting AIDS orphans by 

putting children into purpose-built homes within a village environment that includes a school and medical centre.

Mr McBurney has also assisted with the planning for a technical and agricultural school, as well as a masterplan to revitalise the wartorn city of Gulu in Uganda, home to 350,000 people.

Architect Nick Seeman was another conference speaker, his work on community development projects taking him to Papua New Guinea and Nepal in the past, but more recently has seen him employing the social repair concept closer to home.

His company, Constructive Dialogue Architects, works with not-for-profit organisations such as The Salvation Army to help them optimise existing properties and develop new buildings to best suit those programs.

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