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World Environment Day | Design Impact & Our Environmental Innovation Competition – By Chris Hayton


Today marks the 50th annual World Environment Day, and as an industry we should take the opportunity to reflect on how we impact the environment through our work and practices.

TreeHouse by Aria Property


This day brings together millions of people from across the globe and engages them in the effort to not only protect – but also restore – the Earth.

In support of world environment day, I wanted to unpack how we as a firm are evolving in this area and share some of the thinking that came out of our recent environmental innovation competition.

While we still have some work to do, we have made a long-term commitment to ensuring sustainable and environmentally friendly practices in our work. We are constantly striving to educate ourselves and others to become more self-aware of behaviour and design solutions that support new, more sustainable habits.


Our Role and What it Means for Design:


As architects and interior designers, we understand that we play a crucial part in nurturing the environment in our neighbourhoods and future cities. We are aware of the broader impact our industry has on the environment, which drives our decision making and influences our designs.

We are the first to acknowledge that as a firm we should always endeavour to adapt and advance our practices to be kinder to the earth. To maximise the sustainability in our designs, we will be implementing what we call Embedded Environmental Accountability (EEA). Through this, our teams strive to incorporate authentic strategies into the design solutions we create, ensuring that regardless of the brief, energy efficiency is maximised throughout the life of the building. This involves minimising embedded energy in materiality, orientation, and functional layouts.

Our goal at Rothelowman is to produce truly holistic design outcomes which will stand the test of time. We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint, minimising our environmental impact, and above all else continuously seeking ways to improve and educate ourselves.


Our Environmental Innovation Competition:


Self evaluation is key to genuine improvement. Fostering a culture of idea generation, research, and continuous learning in important at Rothelowman and we wanted to explore what a greener future looks like to our team members. With this in mind, we held a national idea’s competition, where teams submitted their most innovative ideas which encompassed how we – in our personal and professional lives – can create a sustainable world.

The calibre of entries was outstanding, with the national winner receiving a training grant to develop their ideas even further. Keep reading below, for the winners of each studio.

  • Melbourne East Studio: Yufei Huang
  • Melbourne Dusk Studio: Bridget Lieberman
  • Sydney Studio: Samuel Massey
  • Brisbane/GC Studio: Paola Stocco
  • Perth Studio: Ella Barton

The National Winner is:

  • Brisbane/GC Studio: Paola Stocco

We are beyond impressed by all the submissions for our environmental innovation competition and thrilled to have a national collective that is forward-thinking, sustainably minded, and astute. Thank you and well done to everyone who participated.


Chris Hayton is a Principal at Rothelowman. With a passion for driving positive change through critical thinking, Chris embodies Rothelowman core value of radical exploration – creating bold, sustainable, and inspiring places for people and cities. As a leader of urban design, master planning and mixed-use, Chris encourages his team to recognise the unseen opportunities of projects and utilise collective thinking to turn concepts into reality.