Tara Veldman is the Managing Director of Billard Leece Partnership, and was one five finalists in the Women in Sustainability category of this year’s Sustainability Awards. Tara has over 18 years’ experience designing projects across Australia, Europe and the Middle East.
We asked her five questions ahead of the event:
1.) Congratulations on being a finalist in the Women in Sustainability category! Do you think it is still important to have a special category for women in this field?
Thank you for the opportunity to be considered alongside these female pioneers of the Architecture industry. I think it is both important and incredibly powerful to have a platform whereby the achievements and dedication of these women to sustainability can be celebrated and acknowledged.
The future of design must be sustainable across the board, environmentally, socially, and economically. Therefore, all platforms that encourage the movement towards a sustainable future are incredibly important. They provide opportunity to influence and educate future generations and current practitioners, of the architecture and design industry, to implement sustainable design practices for a healthier world.
2.) What will winning the award mean for your career?
It would be an honour to win this award alongside these female pioneers of sustainability within the architecture and design industry. Winning this award would be a testament to the dedication of my career and BLP to socially inclusive infrastructure and continued innovation to build healthier communities.
Winning this award would provide an exciting opportunity for BLP to further our influence on the industry in terms of Sustainability, through our work across Health, Education, Seniors Living, Residential Communities and Workplace. Continuing our design philosophy to create environments for the people that inhabit them, maximising their health and wellbeing.
3.) I’m sure that you are proud of all your projects, but is there one that stands out?
A project that stands out in my career is the $955m Royal Children’s Hospital masterplan, in Melbourne as it epitomizes my dedication to planning for a healthier environment.
This project was built in collaboration with Bates Smart Architecture and won numerous awards, facilitated a family-centered care design that was at the heart of the of the Royal Children’s Hospital. The design provided a fun place for parents, workers and children; a place of relaxation during times of anxiety and an environment that sustains the bond of the family in times of disruption and dislocation.
The integration of a children’s hospital, fundamental to the location of the building, the distribution of departments, orientation and sculpting of the site, was a personal achievement of this design. This enabled the environment to influence and enhance the human experience.
4.) Where and how did your sustainability journey start?
My road to sustainable architecture was inspired, from a very young age, by living in several environments including an open beach side suburb in Australia and a tiny apartment in Frankfurt, Germany. Living in these parallel environments allowed me to experience both a lively, urban world and while truly appreciating space and nature.
The awareness of these different environments has driven my practice to develop designed environments that work and complement their urban setting, while using and integrating nature and the natural landscape where possible.
This exposure inspired my passion to create environments that facilitate the symbiotic relationship between people and their environment. More specifically, how the environment can influence the way people work together and in turn how people influence the environment.
5.) What is the one change you would like to see in the way we design our buildings to make them more sustainable?
The future of sustainable building design is one that is human-centric. If we all designed our buildings with the user at heart, through Evidence Based Design, the designs and solutions would be responsive and effective in delivering environments that enhance our wellbeing.
A dedication to designing for a healthy world in a cross-section of spaces including hospitals, health hubs, education precincts, high tech research labs, and residential communities provides a blueprint for healthier communities, encouraging the best possible opportunity for a harmonious relationship between people and their environment.