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International Living Future Institute
Published February 2021: https://living-future.org/lbc/case-studies/tanglewood
LBC PETAL CERTIFIED 2019
(Project start: 2013)
The project was a redevelopment of the site where the developer, Jon Brett, was born and raised. The original home was architecturally designed by his father and named Tanglewood in the late 1940s and continually extended through the 50s 60s and 70s. The original part of the house was eventually sold, and the remaining building dismantled. A new version of Tanglewood was designed to nestle in amongst native plants (instead of lawn and rose garden) re-using much of the salvaged timber and furniture from the old building.
Tanglewood has successfully achieved Petal Certiﬁcation, focusing on Energy, Health & Happiness and Beauty. This Case Study focuses on insights in hindsight, hoping to show how EGO-centric projects can be ECO-centric, sensitive to both our own natural desires and the natural tendencies of the Place (eco is derived from the Greek oikos, meaning an extended family unit that consists of the house, members of the family and all property).
Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tuohu koe, me he maunga teitei.
Seek the treasures of your heart, if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain.
A Whakatauki (proverb) from the Ancient Wisdom of the Maori.
We originally set our sights too low, too ego-centric. The Living Building Challenge encouraged us to be more eco-centric and consider a much loftier mountain in this new decade where, as Buckminster Fuller says: The future is a choice between Utopia and Oblivion.
Tanglewood is a regenerative project, returning a typical suburban property to a more natural state. We de-colonialised a typical English garden with neatly mown lawns and pretty rose gardens, replacing it with native bush which is naturally resilient without our intervention. The house was intended to step lightly on the land, with minimal earthworks, concrete, steel and construction waste.
In Aboriginal worldviews, relationships are paramount in knowledge transmission. There can be no exchange or dialogue until the protocols of establishing relationships have taken place. Who are you? Where are you from? Where are you going? What is your true purpose here?…
From Sand Talk p169, by Tyson Yunkaporta, 2019
Goal: To demonstrate that building anything can be joyful and stress-less, while revealing sustainability lessons to facilitate healthy development for generations to come. (Achieved and on-going)
Fortunately, the Sun does not demand payment for all energy that it delivers by radiation to Earth in the overall cosmic scheme, which is trying to make humanity a success despite our overwhelming ignorance and fear…
… We may now care for each Earthian individual at a sustainable billionaire’s level of affluence while living exclusively on less than 1 percent of our planet’s daily energy income from our cosmically designed nuclear reactor, the Sun, optimally located 92 million safe miles away from us.
From Critical Path by Buckminster R. Fuller, 1981
Goal: To generate more renewable energy than actually needed, including energy for transport.
Biophilia means, the love of life…thus the love of Nature…thus the love of human Nature. It’s the last one…human nature that’ll make or break us. Nature will sustain just fine without us. The question is, What must we do NOW to care for and connect with the planet and each other to ensure an ecological, healthy, sustainable, biophilic future for all of life?
Yoshimi and Jon Brett, 2020
Goal: Tanglewood provides occupants and visitors, spaces and experiences designed to nurture optimum health and happiness. (Achieved and on-going)
When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
Goal: Tanglewood is a manifestation of Nature’s beauty and spirit. (Achieved and on-going)
Read or re-read Transformational Thought by Jason McLennan. The chapter, Don’t Be a Tool, from page 77 is important. Given the choice, always seek to lower your environmental footprint even if it means a lower point score. J McLennan. mclennan-design.com
Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) was wise, honest, searing, and courageous. He alerted us to the emergencies we are now experiencing. It’s late…but important to listen NOW:
We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.
You never change things by fighting the existing reality
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
Nature is a totally efficient, self-regenerating system. IF we discover the laws that govern this system and live synergistically within them, sustainability will follow and humankind will be a success.
There is no joy equal to that of being able to work for all humanity and doing what you’re doing well.
Symbols used with permission, copyright TetraMap International www.tetramap.com
The 2020s are the Design Science Decade. Learn why, what other great ecological thinkers and projects are achieving, and what you can DO to sustain all of life. www.bfi.org
Jason F. McLennan (born 1973) is an architect and prominent figure in the green building movement. He is the Founder, former Chair, and current board member of the International Living Future Institute and Cascadia Green Building Council, a chapter of both the United States Green Building Council and the Canada Green Building Council. He is the CEO of McLennan Design, his own architecture and planning firm that does work all over the world. McLennan is also the creator of Pharos, an advanced building material rating system, Declare, an ingredient disclosure label for building products, and JUST, a social justice transparency platform for organizations. In addition, he developed the Living Community Challenge and Living Product Challenge. Additionally, McLennan formerly served as the Chief Innovation Officer for Integral Group.