Third Skin was established by Chris Barnett in 2007, in response to industry acceptance of a common ESD definition and ‘language’. The services Third Skin provides are informed by Chris’s participation in the development of ESD over the preceding ten years, in architectural design, ESD consultancy and sustainability policy roles.
‘Sustainability is a journey …..not a destination’ House of Reps.- Sustainability Charter Discussion Paper
By the end of 2006, the first stage of Australia’s journey towards creating a sustainable built environment was achieved with wide industry uptake of a suite of rating tools, including Green Star, ABGR, NABERS, BASIX, Sustainable Design Scorecard and STEPS.
While these tools are based on the assessment of predicted ESD design outcomes, the next stage of our journey towards sustainability will focus on the measurement and mandatory reporting of real energy, and other resource usage in building construction and operation. While ESD ratings have developed from an engineering assessment mindset, Third Skin’s services address the architectural and design dialogue that determines the basis of how our buildings are formed.
Third Skin’s services focus on maximising value, by developing commercially realistic and informed sustainability strategies from the plethora of ‘green’ information and rating tools now available to the market. Our advice focuses on integrated, multi-disciplinary design processes. Building brief and initial architectural design decisions consistently provide the most cost and resource efficient approach to achieving high performance ESD.
Our strategic advice provides an up to date market context for sustainability, identifying organisational and project sustainability aims and benefits, risks, compliance costs, project complexity implications, project program impacts and marketing opportunities.
Third Skin has a commitment to the benefits that good design can offer society, on social, economic and environmental levels. Having established an ESD language, it is now time for our design discourse to respond to how meeting these measurable environmental impacts may be architecturally expressed.
Third Skin has been purposely structured as a lean responsive consultancy, utilising a creative architectural mindset to provide independent sustainability advice. It sets out to provide responsive, tailored sustainability services in a rapidly developing market. It seeks to work in new ways, in response to the challenges sustainability places before us.
This approach allows Third Skin to participate in a wide range of design and policy forums, while minimising overheads to cost effectively provide up to date, well-informed strategic ESD advice.
Third Skin contributes to educating both school and tertiary design students on the challenges and solutions we face in moving our built environment to a more sustainable footing. Chris has lectured on ESD and design at Melbourne, RMIT and Deakin Universities, secondary and primary schools.
The practice plays an active role in the Australian Institiute of Architects Victorian Sustainable Architects Forum, working to help architects better understand and participate in the wider sustainability agenda.
Chris Barnett is the Convenor of the Vic Sustainable Architecture Forum and sits as the Victorian representative on the Institute's National Sustainability Committee.
Practice Environment Policy
Third Skin minimises energy, water and resources used in consumables it’s office operations. Bicycle and public transport is used for all city and inner suburban meeting and site travel.