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A look around Canberra – Yarralumla

By Alexandra Craig 11 September 2015 26

Yarralumla suburb sign

One suburb that almost always makes the list of the ACT’s top three most expensive suburbs is Yarralumla. Nestled in the inner south, between Parliament House, Lake Burley Griffin and Curtin, Yarralumla was named for an Aboriginal word meaning ‘echo’. The suburb was first gazetted in 1928.

Yarralumla is home to a whole whack of embassies and official residences of ambassadors from across the globe. A self-guided tour around the embassies is always an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. The National Capital Authority has even published a leaflet with a summary of each embassy and a map showing where each is located. If you forget to print out the leaflet you can always make a game of it and guess which country is represented by each embassy.

Yarralumla is home not only to foreign dignitaries but also to Australia’s Governor General who resides at Government House. Often visiting dignitaries will stay overnight here. From memory, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge recently visited with their son Prince George.

Yarralumla shops

This suburb has a pretty good set of shops too. It has the basics like an IGA and a bakery, but also has a few fantastic cafes and what I think is the world’s best kebab shop. While there have been debates on the RiotACT before as to how good the kebab shop is, I think the line snaking out the door at lunchtime speaks for itself.

Yarralumla playground

There’s also the Yarralumla Brickworks which closed in the mid 1970s after operating since around 1913. There is a development proposal for the site but a lot of the locals are against it. It seems that the developers take one step forward, three steps back. The Brickworks is said to be haunted – maybe the locals just want to protect the ghosts!

Yarralumla also has several parklands that are fantastic to take the dog for a walk in or to go for a run. It also has close proximity to the lake if you feel like you need a water view.

Quick stats
Streets are named after:  Governors and botanists
Federal Electorate: Canberra
Federal MP: Gai Brodtmann
Territory Electorate: Molonglo
Population: 2922
Population breakdown: 48.2 per cent male, 51.2 per cent female 
Average children per family: 1.9
Crime: 198 incidents in 2014 (not including traffic infringements)


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A look around Canberra – Yarralumla
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rubaiyat 1:34 pm 15 Sep 15

Maya123 said :

rubaiyat said :

JC said :

rubaiyat said :

Maya123 said :

rubaiyat said :

Maya123 said :

I was annoyed for driving to the other side of town to view a con.

I know how you felt, that is exactly how I felt yesterday.

Like going to the “organic free range chicken farm” to find it is all packaging. The chickens are in dark barns and the feed is just regular grain mixed with antibiotics.

The fantastic Vietnamese lunch we had in Dickson at Pho Po Quoc made up for it, and we went on to see a much more environmentally friendly house in Coombs.

One thing I don’t understand is how if you appreciate the importance of northern sun for winter warmth and shade for summer cooling, how can you look at the arse backwards arrangement of nearly ever Canberra open space and not see it as wrong?

We do not have anywhere the problem with hot summers in Canberra as we do with our bitterly cold winters with chill winds off the Snowy Mountains and Brindabellas. Any heat or excessive sun is easily dealt with, the cold is the real problem.

The subject is Yarralumla shops here. They were built before any outdoor dining was ever imagined, so the original design cannot be blamed for that. It was a place to come to do some shopping inside and then leave. Tables outside is a new thing re the Yarralumla shops. The shops were never planned to have outside dining.

Obviously they were never planned sensibly, just about nothing was in Canberra, but before outdoor dining was imagined?

Sorry Maya is 100% right. You cannot say something was poorly planned using todays standards and use as the yard stick.

Sitting here in 2015 with a different mindset there is plenty one could pick wrong with the way Canberra, Australia and indeed the world have been designed. But the thing is design reflects the attitudes they day something was built. Regardless of what Gus was doing in Civic, the fact that outdoor dining and the like is only now in the past few years made i to suburban shopping centres kind of proves Maya’s point.

Even in Civic you could cite a handful of places, but again it is only really something relatively recent.

This issue existed back then as it does now. It is beyond outdoor dining, it is plain and simple good design, pleasant orientation in Canberra’s climate. I can not for the life of me see hopw anyone every saw doing the EXACT opposite was a good idea.

These issues are staring me in the face. They always have.

They were staring Gus in the face when he came to Australia.

They stared Harry Seidler in the face when he came to Australia.

Sorry but I see nothing but sheer stupidity and a lack of connection with your surroundings as the only possible reason for what we have in Canberra. As I pointed out we are STILL dealing with it.

Let alone when they built the brand new buildings in Yarralumla. On the south side of the street facing north.

That big bright shiny thing up in the sky that is warming your face in the cold Canberra winters, is very hard to ignore. But amazingly everybody has. So we have toasty warm dumpsters out the back and and the not so bright or permanently oblivious Canberrans on the other side in the bleak, dingy, windy cold.

It was no accident this was repeated all over Canberra. It was bloody minded stupidity, no matter what the time. They are STILL doing it. Amazing!!!

Jindabyne shopping centre got it right and it was built around the same time. When its cold warm up in the sun. Quite nice if you are willing to try it.

You are talking a broad brush here. I agree very strongly that most people ignore orientation with regard to the sun, and yes, dear reader that includes most of you reading this (another broad brush). The evidence can be seen when looking at your housing. Yes, a small percentage of housing has been designed with correct orientation in mind, but only a small percentage. Most people don’t consider it. Don’t make excuses such as that sort of housing is too expensive. It might be a bit more expensive, but it can be saved for, as I did to get a correctly orientated and designed house for the local climate. I refused to add another badly designed house to the housing stock, so I bought an existing basic house in my twenties (cold, with no plumbed hot water, VERY basic old kitchen and bathroom – the cheapest house for sale in the whole of Canberra at the time), paid it off and then saved until I could afford to build a house that matched the climate and I so would not be responsible and embarrassed by adding ANOTHER badly designed house for the local climate, to the housing stock. This all took about thirty years. Yes, I could be called fanatical there. (Single income, below the average Canberra income, but I could do it.) Now I have a very nice, warm house most of the time at the cooler times of year; rarely needing to turn a heater on. This works for keeping the house cool in summer too. If people cared enough to get a properly orientated house, etc and couldn’t afford it from house one, and cared enough not to add a another badly designed house to the housing stock, they could do similar, but as it appears few do, this says a lot. Now, (grin) don’t get me started on your dark house roofs.
Now I’ve indulged myself answering your comments, I remind you the subject here of Alexandra Craig is the Yarralumla Shops. They were built before cafes (outside ones at least). They were a place to go buy food; butcher, grocer, baker, chemist, and the like. They were not designed with the idea of sitting around in the sun. The sun might even be detrimental to some of the shop products. Imagine the meat display with sun pouring in at it for instance. Thinking about that, perhaps the shops were actually designed with orientation in mind; just not your orientation, with today’s uses in mind, but with the uses the shops were built for. (Keeping the meat window display out of the sun for instance.)
As far as housing is concerned though, the knowledge of correct orientation is old. I have visited a 700 year old Indian village in the USA that was sited to get the winter sun. So, I agree as far as housing is concerned, there are few excuses.

I think you are trying to see reasons where there was only unthinking stupidity.

The only butcher shop in Yarralumla faces east and gets sun in his window all morning.

Facing north is actually a better way of avoiding sun through the glass when you have a correctly sized awning.

The shops get it wrong TWICE. They face south AND they have a massive overhang awning.

The times had nothing to do with it because you see exactly the same thing all over Belconnen, Tuggeranong and now Molonglo. For some reason a bit of dim sanity, but not much, penetrated the ACT Government when they built Gungahlin.

Maya123 10:49 am 15 Sep 15

rubaiyat said :

JC said :

rubaiyat said :

Maya123 said :

rubaiyat said :

Maya123 said :

I was annoyed for driving to the other side of town to view a con.

I know how you felt, that is exactly how I felt yesterday.

Like going to the “organic free range chicken farm” to find it is all packaging. The chickens are in dark barns and the feed is just regular grain mixed with antibiotics.

The fantastic Vietnamese lunch we had in Dickson at Pho Po Quoc made up for it, and we went on to see a much more environmentally friendly house in Coombs.

One thing I don’t understand is how if you appreciate the importance of northern sun for winter warmth and shade for summer cooling, how can you look at the arse backwards arrangement of nearly ever Canberra open space and not see it as wrong?

We do not have anywhere the problem with hot summers in Canberra as we do with our bitterly cold winters with chill winds off the Snowy Mountains and Brindabellas. Any heat or excessive sun is easily dealt with, the cold is the real problem.

The subject is Yarralumla shops here. They were built before any outdoor dining was ever imagined, so the original design cannot be blamed for that. It was a place to come to do some shopping inside and then leave. Tables outside is a new thing re the Yarralumla shops. The shops were never planned to have outside dining.

Obviously they were never planned sensibly, just about nothing was in Canberra, but before outdoor dining was imagined?

Sorry Maya is 100% right. You cannot say something was poorly planned using todays standards and use as the yard stick.

Sitting here in 2015 with a different mindset there is plenty one could pick wrong with the way Canberra, Australia and indeed the world have been designed. But the thing is design reflects the attitudes they day something was built. Regardless of what Gus was doing in Civic, the fact that outdoor dining and the like is only now in the past few years made i to suburban shopping centres kind of proves Maya’s point.

Even in Civic you could cite a handful of places, but again it is only really something relatively recent.

This issue existed back then as it does now. It is beyond outdoor dining, it is plain and simple good design, pleasant orientation in Canberra’s climate. I can not for the life of me see hopw anyone every saw doing the EXACT opposite was a good idea.

These issues are staring me in the face. They always have.

They were staring Gus in the face when he came to Australia.

They stared Harry Seidler in the face when he came to Australia.

Sorry but I see nothing but sheer stupidity and a lack of connection with your surroundings as the only possible reason for what we have in Canberra. As I pointed out we are STILL dealing with it.

Let alone when they built the brand new buildings in Yarralumla. On the south side of the street facing north.

That big bright shiny thing up in the sky that is warming your face in the cold Canberra winters, is very hard to ignore. But amazingly everybody has. So we have toasty warm dumpsters out the back and and the not so bright or permanently oblivious Canberrans on the other side in the bleak, dingy, windy cold.

It was no accident this was repeated all over Canberra. It was bloody minded stupidity, no matter what the time. They are STILL doing it. Amazing!!!

Jindabyne shopping centre got it right and it was built around the same time. When its cold warm up in the sun. Quite nice if you are willing to try it.

You are talking a broad brush here. I agree very strongly that most people ignore orientation with regard to the sun, and yes, dear reader that includes most of you reading this (another broad brush). The evidence can be seen when looking at your housing. Yes, a small percentage of housing has been designed with correct orientation in mind, but only a small percentage. Most people don’t consider it. Don’t make excuses such as that sort of housing is too expensive. It might be a bit more expensive, but it can be saved for, as I did to get a correctly orientated and designed house for the local climate. I refused to add another badly designed house to the housing stock, so I bought an existing basic house in my twenties (cold, with no plumbed hot water, VERY basic old kitchen and bathroom – the cheapest house for sale in the whole of Canberra at the time), paid it off and then saved until I could afford to build a house that matched the climate and I so would not be responsible and embarrassed by adding ANOTHER badly designed house for the local climate, to the housing stock. This all took about thirty years. Yes, I could be called fanatical there. (Single income, below the average Canberra income, but I could do it.) Now I have a very nice, warm house most of the time at the cooler times of year; rarely needing to turn a heater on. This works for keeping the house cool in summer too. If people cared enough to get a properly orientated house, etc and couldn’t afford it from house one, and cared enough not to add a another badly designed house to the housing stock, they could do similar, but as it appears few do, this says a lot. Now, (grin) don’t get me started on your dark house roofs.
Now I’ve indulged myself answering your comments, I remind you the subject here of Alexandra Craig is the Yarralumla Shops. They were built before cafes (outside ones at least). They were a place to go buy food; butcher, grocer, baker, chemist, and the like. They were not designed with the idea of sitting around in the sun. The sun might even be detrimental to some of the shop products. Imagine the meat display with sun pouring in at it for instance. Thinking about that, perhaps the shops were actually designed with orientation in mind; just not your orientation, with today’s uses in mind, but with the uses the shops were built for. (Keeping the meat window display out of the sun for instance.)
As far as housing is concerned though, the knowledge of correct orientation is old. I have visited a 700 year old Indian village in the USA that was sited to get the winter sun. So, I agree as far as housing is concerned, there are few excuses.

rubaiyat 10:18 am 15 Sep 15

Maya123 said :

Yarralumla is older than Gus’ Cafe, and the introduction (and awareness) of outside dining. Although there were some earlier settlements in the area, dating back to the 1920s, I think Yarralumla really got going after the second world war, but this was still before Gus’ Cafe, as Gus arrived in Canberra in 1962, when Yarralumla, and presumably the shops too, were already established.

Yarralumla may be older, but looking at those shops they are not. I tried to research them but by style I’d say the 60’s.

I got into architecture because I was raised in a cold badly designed dark house, that was freezing in winter, unbearable in summer. It was not something that needed to be discovered that you can simply change it by facing buildings the right way.

It is bleedin’ obvious!

If many STILL can’t see the bleedin’ obvious for some unfathomable reason, then that is a serious problem, beyond this forum.

rubaiyat 9:37 am 15 Sep 15

JC said :

rubaiyat said :

Maya123 said :

rubaiyat said :

Maya123 said :

I was annoyed for driving to the other side of town to view a con.

I know how you felt, that is exactly how I felt yesterday.

Like going to the “organic free range chicken farm” to find it is all packaging. The chickens are in dark barns and the feed is just regular grain mixed with antibiotics.

The fantastic Vietnamese lunch we had in Dickson at Pho Po Quoc made up for it, and we went on to see a much more environmentally friendly house in Coombs.

One thing I don’t understand is how if you appreciate the importance of northern sun for winter warmth and shade for summer cooling, how can you look at the arse backwards arrangement of nearly ever Canberra open space and not see it as wrong?

We do not have anywhere the problem with hot summers in Canberra as we do with our bitterly cold winters with chill winds off the Snowy Mountains and Brindabellas. Any heat or excessive sun is easily dealt with, the cold is the real problem.

The subject is Yarralumla shops here. They were built before any outdoor dining was ever imagined, so the original design cannot be blamed for that. It was a place to come to do some shopping inside and then leave. Tables outside is a new thing re the Yarralumla shops. The shops were never planned to have outside dining.

Obviously they were never planned sensibly, just about nothing was in Canberra, but before outdoor dining was imagined?

Sorry Maya is 100% right. You cannot say something was poorly planned using todays standards and use as the yard stick.

Sitting here in 2015 with a different mindset there is plenty one could pick wrong with the way Canberra, Australia and indeed the world have been designed. But the thing is design reflects the attitudes they day something was built. Regardless of what Gus was doing in Civic, the fact that outdoor dining and the like is only now in the past few years made i to suburban shopping centres kind of proves Maya’s point.

Even in Civic you could cite a handful of places, but again it is only really something relatively recent.

This issue existed back then as it does now. It is beyond outdoor dining, it is plain and simple good design, pleasant orientation in Canberra’s climate. I can not for the life of me see hopw anyone every saw doing the EXACT opposite was a good idea.

These issues are staring me in the face. They always have.

They were staring Gus in the face when he came to Australia.

They stared Harry Seidler in the face when he came to Australia.

Sorry but I see nothing but sheer stupidity and a lack of connection with your surroundings as the only possible reason for what we have in Canberra. As I pointed out we are STILL dealing with it.

Let alone when they built the brand new buildings in Yarralumla. On the south side of the street facing north.

That big bright shiny thing up in the sky that is warming your face in the cold Canberra winters, is very hard to ignore. But amazingly everybody has. So we have toasty warm dumpsters out the back and and the not so bright or permanently oblivious Canberrans on the other side in the bleak, dingy, windy cold.

It was no accident this was repeated all over Canberra. It was bloody minded stupidity, no matter what the time. They are STILL doing it. Amazing!!!

Jindabyne shopping centre got it right and it was built around the same time. When its cold warm up in the sun. Quite nice if you are willing to try it.

JC 8:25 am 15 Sep 15

rubaiyat said :

Maya123 said :

rubaiyat said :

Maya123 said :

I was annoyed for driving to the other side of town to view a con.

I know how you felt, that is exactly how I felt yesterday.

Like going to the “organic free range chicken farm” to find it is all packaging. The chickens are in dark barns and the feed is just regular grain mixed with antibiotics.

The fantastic Vietnamese lunch we had in Dickson at Pho Po Quoc made up for it, and we went on to see a much more environmentally friendly house in Coombs.

One thing I don’t understand is how if you appreciate the importance of northern sun for winter warmth and shade for summer cooling, how can you look at the arse backwards arrangement of nearly ever Canberra open space and not see it as wrong?

We do not have anywhere the problem with hot summers in Canberra as we do with our bitterly cold winters with chill winds off the Snowy Mountains and Brindabellas. Any heat or excessive sun is easily dealt with, the cold is the real problem.

The subject is Yarralumla shops here. They were built before any outdoor dining was ever imagined, so the original design cannot be blamed for that. It was a place to come to do some shopping inside and then leave. Tables outside is a new thing re the Yarralumla shops. The shops were never planned to have outside dining.

Obviously they were never planned sensibly, just about nothing was in Canberra, but before outdoor dining was imagined?

Sorry Maya is 100% right. You cannot say something was poorly planned using todays standards and use as the yard stick.

Sitting here in 2015 with a different mindset there is plenty one could pick wrong with the way Canberra, Australia and indeed the world have been designed. But the thing is design reflects the attitudes they day something was built. Regardless of what Gus was doing in Civic, the fact that outdoor dining and the like is only now in the past few years made i to suburban shopping centres kind of proves Maya’s point.

Even in Civic you could cite a handful of places, but again it is only really something relatively recent.

Maya123 6:45 pm 14 Sep 15

rubaiyat said :

Maya123 said :

rubaiyat said :

Maya123 said :

I was annoyed for driving to the other side of town to view a con.

I know how you felt, that is exactly how I felt yesterday.

Like going to the “organic free range chicken farm” to find it is all packaging. The chickens are in dark barns and the feed is just regular grain mixed with antibiotics.

The fantastic Vietnamese lunch we had in Dickson at Pho Po Quoc made up for it, and we went on to see a much more environmentally friendly house in Coombs.

One thing I don’t understand is how if you appreciate the importance of northern sun for winter warmth and shade for summer cooling, how can you look at the arse backwards arrangement of nearly ever Canberra open space and not see it as wrong?

We do not have anywhere the problem with hot summers in Canberra as we do with our bitterly cold winters with chill winds off the Snowy Mountains and Brindabellas. Any heat or excessive sun is easily dealt with, the cold is the real problem.

The subject is Yarralumla shops here. They were built before any outdoor dining was ever imagined, so the original design cannot be blamed for that. It was a place to come to do some shopping inside and then leave. Tables outside is a new thing re the Yarralumla shops. The shops were never planned to have outside dining.

Obviously they were never planned sensibly, just about nothing was in Canberra, but before outdoor dining was imagined?

Gus was already fighting for his cafe, the shops are not that old, and he did not invent the idea. People have been enjoying the sun around the world for as long as there have been people enjoying life and other people. It’s just the miserable British who can’t get their heads around it.

As I pointed out, there is an entire row of new buildings opposite with a potential outdoor footpath we could enjoy if only it wasn’t so unthinkable.

Yarralumla is older than Gus’ Cafe, and the introduction (and awareness) of outside dining. Although there were some earlier settlements in the area, dating back to the 1920s, I think Yarralumla really got going after the second world war, but this was still before Gus’ Cafe, as Gus arrived in Canberra in 1962, when Yarralumla, and presumably the shops too, were already established.

rubaiyat 4:05 pm 14 Sep 15

Maya123 said :

rubaiyat said :

Maya123 said :

I was annoyed for driving to the other side of town to view a con.

I know how you felt, that is exactly how I felt yesterday.

Like going to the “organic free range chicken farm” to find it is all packaging. The chickens are in dark barns and the feed is just regular grain mixed with antibiotics.

The fantastic Vietnamese lunch we had in Dickson at Pho Po Quoc made up for it, and we went on to see a much more environmentally friendly house in Coombs.

One thing I don’t understand is how if you appreciate the importance of northern sun for winter warmth and shade for summer cooling, how can you look at the arse backwards arrangement of nearly ever Canberra open space and not see it as wrong?

We do not have anywhere the problem with hot summers in Canberra as we do with our bitterly cold winters with chill winds off the Snowy Mountains and Brindabellas. Any heat or excessive sun is easily dealt with, the cold is the real problem.

The subject is Yarralumla shops here. They were built before any outdoor dining was ever imagined, so the original design cannot be blamed for that. It was a place to come to do some shopping inside and then leave. Tables outside is a new thing re the Yarralumla shops. The shops were never planned to have outside dining.

Obviously they were never planned sensibly, just about nothing was in Canberra, but before outdoor dining was imagined?

Gus was already fighting for his cafe, the shops are not that old, and he did not invent the idea. People have been enjoying the sun around the world for as long as there have been people enjoying life and other people. It’s just the miserable British who can’t get their heads around it.

As I pointed out, there is an entire row of new buildings opposite with a potential outdoor footpath we could enjoy if only it wasn’t so unthinkable.

Maya123 3:34 pm 14 Sep 15

rubaiyat said :

Maya123 said :

I was annoyed for driving to the other side of town to view a con.

I know how you felt, that is exactly how I felt yesterday.

Like going to the “organic free range chicken farm” to find it is all packaging. The chickens are in dark barns and the feed is just regular grain mixed with antibiotics.

The fantastic Vietnamese lunch we had in Dickson at Pho Po Quoc made up for it, and we went on to see a much more environmentally friendly house in Coombs.

One thing I don’t understand is how if you appreciate the importance of northern sun for winter warmth and shade for summer cooling, how can you look at the arse backwards arrangement of nearly ever Canberra open space and not see it as wrong?

We do not have anywhere the problem with hot summers in Canberra as we do with our bitterly cold winters with chill winds off the Snowy Mountains and Brindabellas. Any heat or excessive sun is easily dealt with, the cold is the real problem.

The subject is Yarralumla shops here. They were built before any outdoor dining was ever imagined, so the original design cannot be blamed for that. It was a place to come to do some shopping inside and then leave. Tables outside is a new thing re the Yarralumla shops. The shops were never planned to have outside dining.

rubaiyat 1:38 pm 14 Sep 15

Maya123 said :

I was annoyed for driving to the other side of town to view a con.

I know how you felt, that is exactly how I felt yesterday.

Like going to the “organic free range chicken farm” to find it is all packaging. The chickens are in dark barns and the feed is just regular grain mixed with antibiotics.

The fantastic Vietnamese lunch we had in Dickson at Pho Po Quoc made up for it, and we went on to see a much more environmentally friendly house in Coombs.

One thing I don’t understand is how if you appreciate the importance of northern sun for winter warmth and shade for summer cooling, how can you look at the arse backwards arrangement of nearly ever Canberra open space and not see it as wrong?

We do not have anywhere the problem with hot summers in Canberra as we do with our bitterly cold winters with chill winds off the Snowy Mountains and Brindabellas. Any heat or excessive sun is easily dealt with, the cold is the real problem.

Maya123 12:46 pm 14 Sep 15

rubaiyat said :

Maya123 said :

rubaiyat said :

Maya123 said :

rubaiyat said :

Ignoring what everyone else with an ounce of common sense does.

Plant deciduous shade trees.

They are deciduous trees at Yarralumla. This can be seen in he above photograph and by checking Google maps. The outside sitting area on the west of the building does have northern access.

I’m rather familiar with the half dead landscaping of the area, but if you are content with the deciduous trees, how are you going to perish in the sun?

I am also familiar with the western seating area in the shade of the awnings, toilet block and building for most of the day.

Again why is it so difficult to grasp the concept of orienting to winter sunshine and summer shade?

Having seen yet more insanely awful interpretations of supposedly “solar” housing this weekend, I am coming the conclusion there was not just asbestos in all those early Canberra houses but lead in the paint of the windowsills Canberrans chewed on as children.

I live in a solar house that never needs cooling and rarely has a heater on. In fact, it was built without heating. So I know about orientation. In fact, whenever I looked at a house with purchase in mind, I always took a compass with me. A small blow heater is all that is needed for the rare occasion it is cold enough, although I have now had an efficient wood-fired stove included, as because it isn’t needed very often, I am able to gather enough free wood to use in it. My winter electricity use was about $90, and it was that high, because I needed to turn the booster on for the solar hot water, not because the house was heated (with electricity). I maybe heated the house one evening with electricity; that’s all.
Anyway, back to the subject, Yarralumla Shops. The shops were built in an era before outside dining, and were not designed with that in mind. Short of knocking the whole place down and starting again, it is limited what can be done with them. In winter I usually sit inside cafes, because it is warmer, and I think heating the outside air is energy wasting. In summer I want shade. The shops, as they are now, can cater for this.

We may share similar intent.

I however need no compass. One glance at the sky tells me what I need to know.

…and the result lies before you on the ground and the buildings.

I hear what you are saying, but sadly I have heard this all before.

I inspected a building this weekend which was supposedly “a model of solar design”. It barely veered off an East West frontage with scarcely any light penetrating. In fact the owner/developer had all the internal lights turned on and it was still gloomy.

I watched as the group of acolyte Canberrans listened intently, nodding to the “environmental design” chin music.

For heaven’s sake this is 2015, has no-one got it? Has no-one eyes to see and a brain to think on what is there laid out in front of them?

As I sit here in my house, the sun is pouring in. Not as far naturally as it did in the middle of the winter, because the sun is getting higher in the sky, and on the longest days, the sun doesn’t come in the northern windows. On the shortest days of the year, the sun penetrates further into my house than the north facing bedrooms. It goes out the bedroom doors and into the hallway. None of my living areas could be called “gloomy” on a sunny day. The bathrooms, toilet and laundry are darker, as they are on the south side, but all bedrooms and the living/dining/kitchen room are all double glazed glass on the north side.
But I know what you mean by some so-called ‘solar houses’. I remember visiting a builder’s house advertised as ‘solar passive’. It was no way solar passive. Sure, it had large windows (single glazed) on the north and a concrete floor, but no other mass, and I doubt the concrete floor was insulated around the edges (mine is). It was a sunny day, the sort of day where my present house would be warm and comfortable from the sun, but that display house was chilly. I said to the agent, in front of other people looking, that I liked the look of the house, but did they ever build proper solar houses. The truth annoyed the agent, although he joked it off. I was annoyed for driving to the other side of town to view a con.

rubaiyat 11:58 am 14 Sep 15

Maya123 said :

rubaiyat said :

Maya123 said :

rubaiyat said :

Ignoring what everyone else with an ounce of common sense does.

Plant deciduous shade trees.

They are deciduous trees at Yarralumla. This can be seen in he above photograph and by checking Google maps. The outside sitting area on the west of the building does have northern access.

I’m rather familiar with the half dead landscaping of the area, but if you are content with the deciduous trees, how are you going to perish in the sun?

I am also familiar with the western seating area in the shade of the awnings, toilet block and building for most of the day.

Again why is it so difficult to grasp the concept of orienting to winter sunshine and summer shade?

Having seen yet more insanely awful interpretations of supposedly “solar” housing this weekend, I am coming the conclusion there was not just asbestos in all those early Canberra houses but lead in the paint of the windowsills Canberrans chewed on as children.

I live in a solar house that never needs cooling and rarely has a heater on. In fact, it was built without heating. So I know about orientation. In fact, whenever I looked at a house with purchase in mind, I always took a compass with me. A small blow heater is all that is needed for the rare occasion it is cold enough, although I have now had an efficient wood-fired stove included, as because it isn’t needed very often, I am able to gather enough free wood to use in it. My winter electricity use was about $90, and it was that high, because I needed to turn the booster on for the solar hot water, not because the house was heated (with electricity). I maybe heated the house one evening with electricity; that’s all.
Anyway, back to the subject, Yarralumla Shops. The shops were built in an era before outside dining, and were not designed with that in mind. Short of knocking the whole place down and starting again, it is limited what can be done with them. In winter I usually sit inside cafes, because it is warmer, and I think heating the outside air is energy wasting. In summer I want shade. The shops, as they are now, can cater for this.

We may share similar intent.

I however need no compass. One glance at the sky tells me what I need to know.

…and the result lies before you on the ground and the buildings.

I hear what you are saying, but sadly I have heard this all before.

I inspected a building this weekend which was supposedly “a model of solar design”. It barely veered off an East West frontage with scarcely any light penetrating. In fact the owner/developer had all the internal lights turned on and it was still gloomy.

I watched as the group of acolyte Canberrans listened intently, nodding to the “environmental design” chin music.

For heaven’s sake this is 2015, has no-one got it? Has no-one eyes to see and a brain to think on what is there laid out in front of them?

Maya123 11:23 am 14 Sep 15

rubaiyat said :

Maya123 said :

rubaiyat said :

Ignoring what everyone else with an ounce of common sense does.

Plant deciduous shade trees.

They are deciduous trees at Yarralumla. This can be seen in he above photograph and by checking Google maps. The outside sitting area on the west of the building does have northern access.

I’m rather familiar with the half dead landscaping of the area, but if you are content with the deciduous trees, how are you going to perish in the sun?

I am also familiar with the western seating area in the shade of the awnings, toilet block and building for most of the day.

Again why is it so difficult to grasp the concept of orienting to winter sunshine and summer shade?

Having seen yet more insanely awful interpretations of supposedly “solar” housing this weekend, I am coming the conclusion there was not just asbestos in all those early Canberra houses but lead in the paint of the windowsills Canberrans chewed on as children.

I live in a solar house that never needs cooling and rarely has a heater on. In fact, it was built without heating. So I know about orientation. In fact, whenever I looked at a house with purchase in mind, I always took a compass with me. A small blow heater is all that is needed for the rare occasion it is cold enough, although I have now had an efficient wood-fired stove included, as because it isn’t needed very often, I am able to gather enough free wood to use in it. My winter electricity use was about $90, and it was that high, because I needed to turn the booster on for the solar hot water, not because the house was heated (with electricity). I maybe heated the house one evening with electricity; that’s all.
Anyway, back to the subject, Yarralumla Shops. The shops were built in an era before outside dining, and were not designed with that in mind. Short of knocking the whole place down and starting again, it is limited what can be done with them. In winter I usually sit inside cafes, because it is warmer, and I think heating the outside air is energy wasting. In summer I want shade. The shops, as they are now, can cater for this.

rubaiyat 11:14 am 14 Sep 15

I’d take a cue from the weed infested Tank-Barrier landscaping and struggling trees in the almost perpetual shade.

There seems to be an odd connection with how badly public spaces fare and the plants sentenced to death in them.

Can’t quite put my finger on what that is. Now, where is that sun again? I remember seeing it somewhere around here… Ah there it is, keeping the dumpsters in the back laneway warm!

rubaiyat 10:44 am 14 Sep 15

Maya123 said :

rubaiyat said :

Ignoring what everyone else with an ounce of common sense does.

Plant deciduous shade trees.

They are deciduous trees at Yarralumla. This can be seen in he above photograph and by checking Google maps. The outside sitting area on the west of the building does have northern access.

I’m rather familiar with the half dead landscaping of the area, but if you are content with the deciduous trees, how are you going to perish in the sun?

I am also familiar with the western seating area in the shade of the awnings, toilet block and building for most of the day.

Again why is it so difficult to grasp the concept of orienting to winter sunshine and summer shade?

Having seen yet more insanely awful interpretations of supposedly “solar” housing this weekend, I am coming the conclusion there was not just asbestos in all those early Canberra houses but lead in the paint of the windowsills Canberrans chewed on as children.

Maya123 10:30 am 14 Sep 15

rubaiyat said :

Ignoring what everyone else with an ounce of common sense does.

Plant deciduous shade trees.

They are deciduous trees at Yarralumla. This can be seen in he above photograph and by checking Google maps. The outside sitting area on the west of the building does have northern access.

rubaiyat 12:12 pm 13 Sep 15

Ignoring what everyone else with an ounce of common sense does.

Plant deciduous shade trees.

rubaiyat 11:56 am 13 Sep 15

Almost as dumb as leaf blowers are the rows of ineffective gas heaters outside all our eating places just because no-one can get the bleedin’ obvious:

The sun is in the north!

rubaiyat 11:53 am 13 Sep 15

Maya123 said :

rubaiyat said :

Alexandra Craig said :

Maya123 said :

rubaiyat said :

I think that photo of the shops captures the natural dark and cold gloom, lack of landscaping talent, and the inability to use the National Car Parks that abound in Canberra, “Because God made it that way!”

Those shops are active and used by locals, as are most small shopping centres in inner suburbs. Unlike many in the outer suburbs, which are dying, if not already dead and abandoned, because those residents prefer the mall. Different mindset.

Yup, the photo looks a bit gloomy but there was actually a fair few people around and it was first thing in the morning. I just waited till they got out of frame before I took the photo (not because I don’t want them in it, I just don’t want people going nuts at me for taking their photo)

Doesn’t change the cold damp windswept pavement, whether people are standing on it or not.

Don’t know why they didn’t just move the cafes and dining to the other (sunny) side of the street rather than have the miserable offices there with their blinds all pulled down.

The fact that this is normal everywhere in Canberra must surely indicate some yearning by the Town Planners to be back in their miserable Old Blighty, where they can’t find the sun either, but only because it rarely makes an appearance..

If it’s warm enough to sit outside a cafe I want shade, not belting down sun. The expression, “Only mad dogs and…” comes to mind for those who want hot sun.

Isn’t that back to front thinking?

That’s what umbrellas are for.

What do you do under the south facing cold windswept awnings in the middle of our beautifully sunny winters?

HenryBG 9:51 pm 11 Sep 15

Haven’t been there in ages, but I used to appreciate the butcher, the supermarket, and the Thai restaurant when I lived just up the road.

creative_canberran 7:05 pm 11 Sep 15

You forgot the nursery, which moved to Yarralumla in 1914 from the present site of the National Museum where it was established in 1910. It provided most of the plants for the older parts of Canberra, both public and private plantings.

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