This thesis is concerned with how architects approach the making of natural and healing architecture that is both nourishing for the human soul and to the environment. The study commences with an exposé of the architectural, theoretical paradigms of Place and Environmentally Sustainable Design. This investigation considers the relationship between a philosophical and an ethical position and also how each theory informs design and practice in architecture. Proceeding from this analysis, the integration of these separate paradigms is identified in instances of practice that advertise the architectural potential for creating both nourishing and nurturing places for the soul and sustainable and responsive places within the environment. The work of local architect Helen Smith is presented as an exemplar of architecture that succeeds in creating this.
The architecture of Helen Smith nurtures the very essence of its conception as environmentally sustainable places for people and living. Health and well-being are dominant considerations in the development of her work. For this reason, Helen Smith’s architecture is inspiring and instrumental, especially as a model of successful, contemporary architectural design in Queensland. The analysis of Helen Smith’s architecture records and discusses the ideas, design process, outcomes and architectural merit of her work in the context of the two previously established theoretical paradigms. Smith’s architecture is considered in the context of her background, education and training, experiences, and her architectural position. Four specific examples of Smith’s architecture from within the SE Queensland region and beyond are examined in detail to demonstrate how the practice of architecture surpasses individual theoretical discourse, in particular the theory of Place and Environmentally Sustainable Design. This analysis suggests that successful architectural practice does not evolve from singular theoretical paradigms alone, but rather occurs when these paradigms are considered as ideas that are a part of a holistic design process. Consequently, this inquiry acknowledges Smith’s contribution and research towards the generation of experiential, healthy, nurturing, and sustainable architecture.
In conclusion, the study demonstrates the significance of the relationship between the two theoretical paradigms of Place and Environmentally Sustainable Design in the generation of successful architecture. The study illustrates how a holistic and sensitive approach can be exercised by architects by designing with infused theoretical paradigms for a sustainable, healthy and fulfilling future for people and the environment.