The Green Design of Adelaide’s Christie Walk

• September 21, 2013

The city of Adelaide is filled with notable architecture, but one of the most intriguing projects is Christie Walk. Designed by architect Paul Downton, Christie Walk is meant to be a sustainable development in every sense of the word. It was constructed using green-friendly materials, generates its own green power, and is kept in top shape by residents who share a sense of community. The project was meant to provide an affordable, sustainable community for Adelaide residents.

The Project’s Beginnings

Downton used American Shaker villages as an influence when designing Christie Walk, which are known for their sense of community and re-use of materials. All materials and buildings are meant to be both functional and appealing to the eye at the same time. He also used the idea of permaculture as an influence for the Christie Walk concept, which is a branch of environmental design focusing on creating self-maintained architecture.

When the project first entered its planning stages, Downton asked the future residents for their ideas in its construction and design. The group formed a non-profit building company of their own, which helped to keep housing prices low even within the city centre. All residents now own their own units, while sharing communal recreation and outdoor facilities. They have garden beds, walking paths, and gathering points to sit and relax in.

Eco-Friendly Building Design

There is a mix of housing types contained within this green urban village, including apartments, townhouses, and cottages. The project was originally constructed on a small 2000 square metre site, fitting 14 dwellings. It was then expanded in 2006 with an additional apartment block and community facilities, for 27 dwellings in total. Although typical Adelaide family home listings on Homesales or other real estate sites contain 4 bedrooms, the dwellings at Christie Walk are limited to two or three. This helps utilise the small space more effectively, and does away with unused rooms.

The buildings are constructed from non-toxic, green materials including concrete and straw bale. Solar panels help provide power for the full site, while window and vents provide a source of natural cooling breezes to regulate temperature. The building’s structure is also composed of recycled wood products and natural materials such as cork.

Natural Accents and Community Life

Plant life plays a large role in this sustainable community, and to that effect you’ll find climbing plants growing up the balconies of the housing. Downton was careful to use native plants that have low water needs, to keep water usage low. Trees are strategically placed to help provide shade in the summer months, while plenty of space is provided to grow food in the site’s raised garden beds. There’s also a roof garden, which helps add insulation to the building while offering panoramic views over the city.

Christie Walk is a must-visit destination in Adelaide for any sustainable architecture enthusiasts, and offers tours for a small fee.


Category: Architecture

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