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Eco Design – Architects & Consultants is an architectural practice which specializes in ecological friendly green building and consulting. Established in 1998 by Andy Horn, the practice has been at the forefront of the green building movement in South Africa and has won a number of international awards in the field of sustainable design.
The practice has worked on a wide range of projects and consulting jobs across the country and abroad to a broad range of clients.

Clients have included:

Namaqua National Park
Conservation International – tourism charettes
WESSA-Natal funded by Mondi Forests
International Fauna and Flora Department
Eskom- Demand Side Management
National Water Saving Campaign
SA Heritage Resource Agency
Hantam Municipality
East Coast Architects with Oprah’s Angel Network
Overstrand Municipality – under Andrew Greef Architects
City of Cape Town – Heritage Dept.
Mandela Rhodes Foundation
Village & Life – Camps Bay Retreat

Over the years we have built up an extensive resource base of knowledge in this field, which can add enormous value to projects.

Typical benefits of green buildings are:

Reduced operational costs
Community involvement and benefit to local economies
Healthy buildings
Higher occupancy rates
Improved productivity of work spaces
Better sales with retail
Improved learner-ship in education
Lower environmental impacts
Improved marketability
Sustainability

In 1995 Andy Horn graduated from the University of Cape Town and has built up experience in the field of ecological design. While encompassing an holistic vision, his special focus has always been on the use of local, natural, non-toxic and recycled materials such as stone, clay, sand, straw, reeds, thatch, cob, compressed earth, bottles, poles etc.

In 1998, he founded Eco Design out of a life-long concern for the rapidly degrading natural environment and widening social inequalities.

Eco Design’s first commission as an independent practice was to rebuild an old langhuis for actress Sandra Prinsloo. The project used straw bale infill construction techniques which set the tone for much of Eco Design’s subsequent work which has afforded us the opportunity to continue to explore and refine the use of natural and local materials.

With many of the older buildings built using local, natural materials, Eco Design’s experience has also lead to some historical restoration work, including several reports for the South African Heritage Resource Agency (SAHRA).

The use of natural, local materials lends itself to community participation and Eco Design has had a modus to support community development and help people to gain access to good quality housing with minimal means. Eco Design has held numerous on site workshops to train unskilled labour and owner builders.

Education has formed an integral part of the practice, whilst Eco Design is continually updating knowledge through research in the field. Andy Horn has lectured widely at conferences and has held a part time environmental lecturing post at UCT’s department of Architecture. Eco Design staff are encouraged to enrich their knowledge and skills in the environmental field

In addition to being an architectural practice, Eco design has consulted to a wide range of clients including inter alia the Department of Water Affairs, Eskom, Conservation International SA, The South African National Parks Board, International Fauna and Flora, Hantam Municipality, and Mondi Timbers.

Eco Design’s cutting edge sustainable solutions have been widely published both locally and internationally and have earned them the 2004 Sustainable Building Best Practice award for Residential Projects in the Africa Region and the Silver Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction in Africa and the Middle East 2005.

Taking into consideration our global and local environment has become of paramount importance. ECO DESIGN is a practice that endeavours to create a greener architecture.

But what is green architecture? Green architecture is not a style, trend or a vernacular. Neither is it new. It is a climatically, geographically and culturally appropriate method of designing architecture and constructing buildings. It combines the best of both old and new technology. Green Architecture treads lightly on this planet and respects and cares for the Earth in a sustainable manner. The key benefits are:

Reduced operating-costs for buildings and their landscapes.
Improved occupancy rates.
Improved health and productivity for building inhabitants.
Higher property values.
Low environmental impact.
Sustainable development.

In our MANIFESTO FOR GREEN ARCHITECTURE the following 6 broad principles for a greener approach to architecture are proposed:

SOCIO-ECONOMIC
Promoting social, economic & cultural upliftment.

LAND
Use that is respectful and in symbiosis with the local environment and its resources.

WATER
The protection, conservation, efficiency and re-use of water.

ENERGY
The conservation, efficiency, and renewable use of energy.

HEALTH
Non-polluting environments and healthy materials.

HOLISM
Holistic, Intrinsically Recyclable, Restorative and Regenerative

In this day and age, the concept of green building has become heavily commercialized and is not enough to move us beyond systems that are inherently degenerative. Sustainability is an inflection point between a degenerative and a regenerative system. It is simply a neutral position. So for us as a design practice, the challenge is to move beyond sustainability towards systems of regenerative design.

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