If you know about Victorian’s first 10-star home built within The Cape estate, you’re more than likely familiar with our friends at The Sociable Weaver who created this exceptional home.
The Sociable Weaver is a design and building company founded by Danny Almagor and Dave Martin, who shared the vision of creating a more sustainable construction and housing industry, changing the built environment for the better.
Dave is a leader in the construction industry, having been the recipient of Master Builder of the Year and featuring on Grand Designs Australia. Dave has a passion for high quality, responsible and sustainable design and construction.
Danny, the CEO of Small Giants, a company he started with his wife Berry Liberman strives to use business as a means to social and environmental change in our world. Small Giants brings together a family of businesses who all have a positive impact including; Dumbo Feather, Tom Organic, The School of Life, The Commons, Impact Investment Group, and many more.
The Sociable Weaver strive to create healthy, sustainable, community minded, functional homes, which are thoughtfully designed to encourage connection to nature, to community, to family, to friends and to ourselves.
The 10-star home was a collaboration with Clare Cousins Architects, and to date has had huge interest here and overseas, so it’s no wonder this home is The Sociable Weavers proudest achievement to date.
To put it simply, this home was built to give back to nature, rather than take away from it, and is now setting a precedent for how all houses should be built, striving for a zero-waste philosophy, using healthy and non-toxic materials and being carbon positive as a result.
With the energy bill of your average Victorian home continuing to rise, through clever design the 10-star costs as little as $3 per annum to run, which is the cost of a cup of coffee!
Interested to know more about the company and their story, we recently caught up with The Sociable Weaver’s General Manager, Reece Stubbs, to answer a few of our questions.
Where did the name, ‘The Sociable Weaver’ originate from?
We are inspired by nature and were particularly inspired by a species of bird that originates from Southern Africa, called The Sociable Weaver. These birds create spectacular structures that perch on top of trees, that house as many as four or five hundred birds at any one time. They are woven together with twigs and stems and feature interconnected spaces that allow the inhabitants to both engage with one another and enjoy their solitude. These dwellings nest several generations at a time and can withstand extreme temperatures to exist for more than 100 years. This amazing bird struck a chord with us and couldn’t go past paying homage by naming our company after it.
Are your services only Victorian based, or do you also design and build interstate?
Currently we are based in Victoria and service all of Victoria, however we do also service parts of the NSW coast as high as Byron Bay. We are looking to expand further, with the hope to eventually reach all of Australia, to offer a broader community access to thoughtfully designed, sustainable and community minded homes. The further we can reach, the more positive impact we can have on the built environment.
What do you believe differentiates The Sociable Weaver from the vast majority of residential builders in Melbourne?
I think putting our vision of a more sustainable housing and construction industry first and letting that vision guide and drive us is key to what we do differently. We spend quality time with our clients to truly understand how they like to live and what elements of a home are important to them, then design and construct a home to accommodate and even enhance these aspects for the client. Building sustainable homes is not only about the design and construction processes, it is an opportunity to educate and inspire a richer, more meaningful experience for the inhabitant. We are fortunate to have an abundance of builders in Melbourne and have a generally high standard across the industry. What I think is lacking however are builders and designers who think beyond the immediate projects they are working on, focusing on the future performance the home, the inhabitant and the connection to the environment it is surrounded by.
Is it significantly more expensive to use sustainable materials when building a home?
It really doesn’t have to be at all. We believe it is important to understand where the material comes from and what process is used to make it, selecting materials that are sustainably and easily regenerated to build our homes. More often than not, these materials are cost effective as they aren’t rare and don’t require complicated, dirty manufacturing processes. Sustainable materials are often non-toxic which is really important to us as they are much healthier for our team to install and create a healthier living environment for our clients. Majority of materials are ready available and come from nature. Shopping for materials locally and within our own country also keeps costs down, as well as reducing our carbon footprint.
What was the total volume of waste produced when constructing the 10-star home?
We took a considered approach to materials and waste throughout the construction of the 10-star home. The build site was installed with separate disposal bins (organics, recycling and landfill). All organic waste from the build was composted on site to establish a composting system for use in the landscaping. All recyclable packaging was sorted and removed off site for recycling. Excess building materials that could not be recycled were used on other builds, or re-purposed on site. Suppliers were asked to deliver materials to site without plastic packaging where possible which reduced the amount of packing that arrived on site. In all, only 2-3 large garbage bags of waste to landfill were generated throughout the entire build.
The Sociable Weaver designs are unique and striking, with each and every single component of their homes selected to provide the ideal balance between design intent, health, nature, environment, communities and sustainability, meaning less reliance on the planet’s resources.
Victoria’s first 10-star home at The Cape in Cape Paterson is open Monday to Friday between 8:00am and 4:00pm, and is well worth the visit if you’re ever in the area.
To get in touch with The Sociable Weaver, email firstname.lastname@example.org or head to www.thesociableweaver.com.au.
The Cape team