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Innovative solutions for life style, environmental,
and financial advantage.

ECOSYSTEM ARCHITECTURE is a new Architectural practice with an innovative approach generated by long and diverse experience.

ECOSYSTEM ARCHITECTURE’s way of working removes the fear of construction and unforseen issues. Innovative solutions become practical, affordable and fit for purpose.

The outcome of our approach is an effective, value adding architectural process producing elegant and high performance solutions.

The ECOSYSTEM ARCHITECTURE strategic design thinking generates value for all types of projects, whether small, infrastructure, residential or commercial developments.

Our buildings are designed to provide:

  • High levels of amenity;
  • Rationalised construction;
  • Extreme weather event survivability;
  • Low maintenance;
  • Accessible services;
  • Ecosystem restoration;
  • Simplicity and elegance of expression.

Ecosystem Architecture Delivers:

  • Innovative design and construction that can contribute life styel and economic advantages for a project.
  • A technologically knowledgeable approach to design that takes the uncertainty out of construction.
  • Excellent experience and knowledge base supporting optimised outcomes for each project.
  • Strategic design that articulates issues, constraints, opportunities and processes.
  • Environmentally responsive architecture.
  • Buildings designed to be low maintenance, high quality architecture expressed with elegance and simplicity complimenting the urban or rural context of the site.
  • Excellent working collaborations with leading specialist Australian and international consultants.
  • Wide-ranging experience and knowledge base for optimising valuable outcomes for projects.
  • Strategic design that articulates issues, constraints, opportunities and processes.
  • Construction as an integral component to the strategic design methodology beginning with the preliminary design stage.
  • Excellent communications covering:
    1. Client communication through comprehensive, timely design status reports.

    2. Tracking project aims, briefing details and design strategies through the project progress.

    3. Comprehensive construction drawings & specifications viewed as documents clearly communicating the project to contractors.

  • Knowledge of state of the art materials and construction processes.
  • Business culture of long standing professional practice.
about background

About Ecosystem

Ecosystem Architecture offers a wide range of specialist services from Architectural Design to Specialist research.

Ecosystem Architecture was formed in late 2012 as an architectural company that would focus on designing buildings to suit the challenges of the 21st Century, in particular extreme weather conditions and the impact of natural disasters. The design strategies developed by Ecosystem Architecture integrate these qualities into the building fabric so that cost issues required for achieving enhanced levels of performance can be minimised and affordable.

The new company has grown out of more than 35 years of experience backed up by building systems research integrated with the practice of architecture.

The CEO of Ecosystems Architecture, Richard Mann had been invited to join the architectural practice of BHI and was the manager of the BHI Sydney office for almost eight years, an architectural practice that had grown out of being regionally based to have offices in Sydney, Canberra and Shanghai. Richard was instrumental in initiating the strategy for the China market as well as setting up design management systems for the Shanghai office and being the Group Ecologically Sustainable Design Manager. Richard also paved the way for establishing relationships in the UAE and in particular,Abu Dhabi.


Architectural Services

ECOSYSTEM ARCHITECTURE provides high quality architectural service delivery for a broad range of building types including:

  • Detached housing
  • Medium density town house developments
  • Medium rise and high rise residential developments
  • Adaptive re-use projects
  • Heritage buildings
  • Medical facilities
  • Hospital design
  • Commercial and retail design
  • Industrial projects
  • Schools & Child Minding facilities
  • Public buildings including museums and art galleries

Design Process

  • Integration of specialist consultants into the design process.
  • Complexity management
  • Solving and resolving complex challenges
  • Design finessing
  • Emotional space awareness and material textures, colours
  • Structural logic
  • Rationalised construction – construction systems used as integral part of the pallet for design solutions, as is structure and services engineering.
  • Articulation of issues to prepare strategic approach to solutions that define project advantages for client.

Special Services

  • Design for remote & regional locations;
  • Design for extreme climatic conditions such as cyclonic, bushfire, flood, earthquake & hot arid regions.
  • Design for international locations through affiliated offices;
  • Commercial facilities management;
  • Interior Design;
  • Infrastructure Design.


Construction documentation is viewed as vital communication to contractors, it is comprehensively prepared ensuring that the design intent is delivered for the client.


It is our established method to maintain timely, informative design status reports for our clients throughout each project.

Key project aims, briefing details and design strategies are specifically tracked for our client reports.

Feasibility Design

Often projects need to begin with a dedicated, carefully managed discourse between client and architect that describes the project goals, issues, challenges and opportunities. Broad brush studies and parametric analyses then test many of the targets to devise strategies for further analysis.


ECOSYSTEM ARCHITECTURE conducts ongoing research into new building forms and technologies with current projects benefiting directly from this knowledge.

ECOSYSTEM ARCHITECTURE staff regularly attend international and national conferences, expos and seminars.

Design as a Strategic Approach to Identify Opportunities

Two parallel approaches best describe our design process:

  1. Strategic design that articulates issues, constraints, opportunities and processes.
  2. Design management system for reporting on the status of project inclusions.
  3. Integration the specialist consultant team’s contribution into the design process from the beginning of the project programme.

Case Studies

Rural Residence

Rural House case study

Residential, Mudgee NSW, Australia

High Rise Residential Condominium

Rural House case study

Highrise, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

RUral house case study

Case Study: Residential House

Case study: rural residential


  • High levels of thermal comfort all year round without the requirement for air conditioning.
  • Indoor outdoor living in all seasons.
  • Microclimate landscaping as environmental conditioning.
  • Rationalised economical construction.
  • Low maintenance and stylish materials and finishes.
  • LED lighting
  • Heated floors
  • PV power generation

Client Breif

The key request from the client was for a casual, indoor/outdoor open country lifestyle and for the house to embrace a garden or natural bush in every direction.

This was to be environmentally sustainable and provide comfortable conditions in all seasons as well as providing a safe refuge during extreme weather. Low maintenance and long life materials were essential.

Urban Design & Context

The new very contemporary home was carefully designed to be sympathetic to the historic Heaton Lodge. A rhythm of carefully scaled voids and solid forms was developed to reflect the scales of the adjacent historic building.

The client agreed with her architect’s recommendation to lower the house by one and a half metres of additional excavation so that it related sympathetically to the historic house alongside.

A small palette of natural materials were used that would express a sympathetic composition of textures for both the bush setting and the neighbouring historic residence.


  • Steel portal frames.
  • Reinforced concrete slab on ground with deep perimeter beams.
  • Deep timber stud framed steel clad walls and roof with massive insulation.
  • Colorbond metallic steel sheeting external cladding.
  • Feature external cladding to front of house comprising natural timber veneered Prodema panels imported from Spain.
  • Hardwood verandahs.
  • Floors: Electrically heated.
  • Glazing: Veridian Low E tinted glass.
  • Rainwater storage: 20,000L
  • Renewable power generation: Roof mounted PV panels.
  • Bushfire seals to external sliding doors and windows.
  • Vortex shedding verandahs and pergolas.
  • Airflow design of overall massing for resilience in high wind conditions.

Enviornmentally Responsive Design

  • Low embodied energy construction and demand energy design.
  • Microclimate gardens and courtyards.
  • Natural materials and finishes were also carefully chosen for their stylish quality and for having high performance qualities providing low maintenance as well as resilience to deal with the extreme climatic range of Mudgee.
  • The house provides comfortable thermal conditions all year, including during i extreme weather, ranging from the extreme depth of winter to the searing heat of summer, without the need for air conditioning. The home has also been designed with a bushfire resilience capability.
  • Natural ventilation is able to be provided in all weather and seasons.
  • Steel portal frame construction to provide economic, rationalised construction processes that would deliver the house on budget.
  • Conceived as a collection of linked pavilions around courtyards and gardens, the home creates a series of microclimates that contribute to modifying the internal temperature for different seasons and weather conditions.
  • The two main pavilions are linked by an enclosed passage that bridges across a large pond, the cooling breezes across which contribute to the cooling of the house. This link has large sliding walls each side that open onto the pond.
  • The house incorporates heated concrete floors throughout with the walls and roof being massively insulated.
  • Structural steel is painted with a nano technology protective coating that provides a 30year life between repainting periods.
  • Other features incorporated into the house are a natural quietness during high winds as well as the strength to withstand extreme cyclonic winds. The home also benefits from having bushfire resilience features imbedded in the design.
  • Water tanks containing a 20,000 litre capacity are hidden under the verandahs, both to save space on site as well as keeping the water cool and out of the sun.
  • Roof mounted PV panels provide ample power for the electric floor heating as well as the lighting.
  • Dimmable LED lighting installed throughout provides comfortable and varied illumination suitable for all spaces and completely devoid of glare.

High rise residential condominium

High rise residential condominium


The project was designed in response to the master plan for Jeddah introduced by the planning authorities to maintain the integrity of the historic city of Jeddah while providing for increasing housing demand through population growth.

Architectural Design Goals

Exploring the design strength and potential of contemporary design, the values of traditional Arabic built forms were expressed through the following design principles:

  • Simplicity and elegance providing controlled rhythm for decorative elements.
  • Use of natural materials with terracotta cladding system and screens matching the local limestone and colours of Jeddah townscape.
  • Decorative opportunities were identified for the detailed design of the terra cotta screens to compliment the balcony gardens attached to each apartment.
  • Significant areas of solid massing balanced with sheltered, protected zones for openings providing privacy and shade.
  • High levels of amenity for residents through low demand energy design and minimised carbon footprint.
  • Close integration of engineering design with architectural design.
  • Microclimate design to modify climate impact on residents.
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  • High thermal mass reinforced concrete structure and through walls.
  • High standard of internal environmental amenity.
  • Layered terrace-cotta façade for control of solar load.
  • Cooling cycles via night purging and thermal lag of concrete structure being exposed to cool night air.
  • Ground coupled air conditioning using water table thermal mass for cooling.
  • Services access and installation located in dedicated zones behind layered façade with dedicated and accessible riser zones.

Microclimate Design & Landscaping

  • Irrigated (recycled & treated water) landscaping protected by dual terracotta screens.
  • Each apartment provided with double height terraces plus for landscaping including vertical planting.
  • Solar load shielding with ventilated facades.
  • Landscaping shielded by layered terracotta screens creating climate modifying microclimates for all apartments.

Construction System

Conventional reinforced concrete frame (post tensioned slabs), steel sub-frame supporting terracotta claddings and screens.

Services Access

Access for all levels located behind façade claddings with duct riser zones and dedicated service elevator.


  • INegligible maintenance. Use of natural full body colour materials, namely terra cotta panels, baguettes and screens.
  • Materials selected to withstand long term abrasion from sandstorms.
  • Solar load shielding with ventilated facades.

Current Research


Our practice designed the first inner city high rise residential project in Melbourne’s CBD in 1990. Having only two street frontages, solar access was achieved for 98% of the apartments.

Over the next decade, designs for high rise residential projects, principally for Chinese clients in both Australia and mainland China, Richard Mann saw the need for a different approach to high rise design. Study tours to Europe confirmed that every country was facing the same set of challenges.

In 2007, an invitation to participate in a limited competition of six architectural and engineering firms for a new high rise residential development in Saudia Arabia triggered the next phase of the research.

The design by Richard Mann provided for a 59 storey building with layered facades of terra-cotta for cooling and which extended to enclose genuine, climate relevant gardens for each apartment. Services were accessible and the building was responsive to the extreme climatic conditions.

This project has evolved into the current research that has been ongoing over a number of years.

In the meantime, much of this research has been applied to a current multi-unit residential 8 storey residential project in Sydney.

The objective is to present a case study for an innovative spatial organisation for high rise residential design through a unique collaboration of science, architecture and engineering that shows positive environmental impacts on humanity, the land, air, and water interface.

Construction processes and prospective home ownership funding models are included.

High rise buildings are artificial topographical features exposed to variable weather conditions with increasing height.

The case study will demonstrate spatial organisations that provide privacy, social and community connections, identity, flexibility in families, environmental amenity and ecosystem support.

Spatial organisation is a key to supporting a carbon positive, responsive architecture that can reduce and modify exposure to variable weather conditions and climatic extremes.

The case study also considers how changing the relationship between affordability and minimalist spaces can be achievable while opening the way for funding models that could contribute to more affordable home ownership.

The role of high rise buildings as urban infrastructure will be discussed with sustainable design demonstrated extending beyond present concepts towards achieving active ecosystem generation and support. The high rise building therefore becomes an active contributor to the environmental health of the city.

This theoretical building design demonstrates one example for new patterns of spatial organisation that could become a new paradigm for affordable, high rise living that actively supports new ecosystems for the urban environment.

Our research presents unique ways in how vertical building systems can positively contribute to urban living, improve psychological ,physiological and social effects while contributing to natural systems.

- Relationships of human well-being with an urbanised natural environment;

- Potential for new high rise system of spatial organisation for achieving sustainable living conditions including social, psychological and physiological benefits;

- Efficiencies gained in high rise living enabling greater natural landscapes which are the basis for ecosystem health.


The broad range of experience with different building types and prefabricated construction technologies has lead to this experience now being focused on solutions for more cost efficient and affordable housing being accessible to the market, particularly for young people.

Case studies applicable across climatic and urban contexts.

High levels of amenity despite small footprint.

Rapid construction.

High standard of finishes to achieve long life performance.

Contact Ecosystem Architecture

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