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the practice

environa studio, founded in 1986, is a highly innovative architectural practice, with an emphasis on the triple bottom line of social, environmental and economic responsibility.

We design for public and private clients. Projects include urban design, masterplanning, civic, commercial and multi-residential buildings, eco-tourism, group housing and retirement villages. All our projects have an emphasis on environmentally and socially driven community projects.

We are a multi-disciplinary practice of 10 professionals, headed by principal architect Tone Wheeler and managing partner Jan O’Connor. By integrating architecture, planning, interiors and landscape, we seek a deep understanding of our clients’ brief and site to produce an individual response.

environa studio emphasises design flexibility, so as to create dynamic solutions in short time frames. Our solutions are creative and experimental, but always practical and liveable. We have written widely on architecture and sustainability and are often quoted in the media for our activism.

practice philosophy

environa studio has a design philosophy based on 5 fundamentals:

  • The purpose of each project will reveal a detailed brief that addresses the real needs of our clients.

  • The place, its site and climate, will develop an environmentally appropriate architecture.

  • The proposition of a strong design concept leads to contemporary solutions with innovative spaces.

  • The use of precedent in form and typology will make culturally and socially appropriate solutions.

  • The patterns of construction will make the most appropriate use of materials and energy.

     

We are seeking ways to live in a far more environmentally conscious fashion, from increased communality in the building forms, to better land, energy and water use. Through traditional and innovative typologies, we aim to achieve greater efficiencies and a lower carbon footprint. We are reinterpreting the positives of past urbanity for a more sustainable future.

 



jan o'connor

 
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jan o'connor is an architect with extensive experience in retail and exhibition design, particularly in the development of products and graphics to accompany architectural design.  whilst completing an architectural degree (hons) at r.m.i.t. melbourne, jan was employed as a retail design manager in the property development department for, myer stores ltd,.

after ten years of corporate employment at myer, jan left and co-founded the iconic retail company T2, where she created and implemented the overall concept design of the stores, branding and packaging.  during the six years she owned the business she initiated and developed a wholesale division supplying boutique teas to nearly 500restaurants and cafes.  following this success, jan returned to architectural practice as a partner at environa studio

 

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tone wheeler

 
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tone wheeler is an architect, author, educator and consultant with an abiding interest in environmentally sustainable design (esd). in the mid seventies at the university of sydney he coordinated and assisted in the construction of the "autonomous house", a working example of a low energy house constructed entirely from recycled materials.  upon graduation tone worked for the australian government in canberra where he designed a range of low cost social housing that won the r.a.i.a residential design award (c s daley medal) in 1980.  for the last twenty five years he has worked in his own practice. tone is a past chair of the raia national environment committee, is currently on the institute ‘sustainabilty committee’ and recently retiredfrom the board of ABSA (association of building sustainability assessors) after a ten year association.  he is a current board member of the building professionals board.

tone has taught extensively over the last 25 years, he has been on the faculty of 3 universities, is a sustainability advocate and frequent speaker at architectural conferences and seminars, has been a judge on ‘the new inventors’ program on ABC Television, and can be heard on the ABC radio program ‘the woodies’. 

 

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