Julian Rutt, from Lumen Studio, is based out of North Adelaide, and he works from the hills to the sea. Lumen Studio is a sustainable boutique Architecture consultancy, offering consulting, furniture design and architecture/design-related photography in the mix. Materials used in their work include a range of things such as rammed earth, concrete, sheet metal, timber, aluminium, glass, recycled materials, bricks etc. Julian explains that it is as much how and where a material is used that impacts on sustainability, as the material itself.
Julian says he is an Architect who wants to create beautiful, sustainable work. “I appreciate the work of Architects Tadao Ando and Peter Zumthor in the way they create ethereal, theatrical spaces through simple, carefully measured use of materials, light and fine detailing” he says. “Sustainability should be just as beautiful, uplifting and inspiring, not limited to the technical and utilitarian response”. A deep respect for the natural world, evolution and biological diversity drives his interest in applying sustainability principles to his professional work. Julian also dabbles in music, visual arts and photography on the weekends.
How did you start the business and what inspired you?
First and foremost I began with a need to put my own ideas into practice – to create Architecture that is more than just space; with a sense of theatre that allows the occupants to watch the movement of the day and the changing of seasons, giving better connection to nature while using fewer resources in the process.
What are your thoughts on sustainability and how is this part of your business and own home?
It’s essential, and needs to be incorporated from the start. Considering the current building stock and low rate of replacement, each new project needs to do as much as possible to lower its impact, not just in energy use, but its offsite impacts. It’s also about seemingly small things like allowing enough space for the collection and separation of what we once would have considered ‘waste’ products for reuse, repurposing and recycling.
Do you have any tips for other people wanting to create a sustainable home?
There are always many ways to upgrade the performance (and delight) of an existing home or building, even reviewing plans or construction drawings of proposed buildings before they are complete can yield improvement before it’s too late – this might be anything from adjusted proportions of glass, walls and shading, performance glazing and increased insulation, to site orientation, integrated plantings and colours.
Would you like to share a favourite piece of work?
It’s hard to pick favourites as they all come from such different places. I was happily surprised with the performance of my own house and being able to play around with some new techniques, though being your own client can be far more difficult than it sounds. One project nearing completion has involved lifting the upper floor level and wrapping the entire existing dwelling in a sculptural second skin – it has been great in both transforming the entire house functionally and aesthetically while vastly upgrading the comfort and performance. A couple of projects in the early design stages are shaping up to be pretty unique: enclosing a roof terrace above a city penthouse apartment and an eco-house on a beautiful sloping house in the Adelaide Hills. Watch this space!
Anything you want to add?
I don’t take on that many projects at once because I want to be able to devote more time and creative energy to each project during the early design stages, it’s just how I work best. I balance that out with consulting and teaching work. It might seem strange to seek out the technical, less creative work like energy efficiency reviews or building inspections, but that work keeps me exposed to a broad spectrum of needs, users and developments in the industry. Similarly the Architectural photography gets me out of the office and into the sunshine more regularly – I think I’ve always been someone who needs to be doing a variety of tasks to keep things interesting.
I have been to Julian’s house on Sustainable House Day and can attest to his skills and ability to create beautiful sustainable homes. You can find him here and get more details about how to work with him on your home.