04. Stephen Choi on Smarter Design Ideas, Sustainability in Design Education and Taking Influence from Nature

04. Stephen Choi on Smarter Design Ideas, Sustainability in Design Education and Taking Influence from Nature

Humanity is rushing headlong into a period of change, one that may be so drastic it will fundamentally alter the way our lives are lived. Incorporating sustainability into our homes, and the entire industry that creates them, now must be a foundational principle to ensure a livable future.

Spaces. They influence every part of our lives – our health, wealth and happiness. Each week on the Spaces podcast, Sam Buckby shares the insights of leading building and design experts to help make our buildings smarter and create healthier and happier spaces.

My guest on this podcast episode is Stephen Choi, here to explain why we need to look to nature for more design and construction inspiration, and how we can do just that. Stephen is the executive director of the Living Future Institute Australia, whose work includes developing global environmental assessment methods, embedding sustainable development into the educational curriculum, and being one of only two Living Building Challenge auditors in Australia.

Sam and Stephen touch on some pretty sensitive topics, ruffling a few feathers in order to have some very important discussions, centering about the changing definition of the word ‘sustainability’, and why it might not be anything to aspire to anymore.

Sam and Stephen also touch on things like:

  • – Why Stephen has banned the use of the word ‘sustainability’
  • – Where there’s room for improvement in how we build our surrounding structures
  • – Form versus function
  • – The Living Building Challenge (prepare to be inspired!)
  • – What would a ‘good’ building look like, and why we should be modelling it on a flower
  • – How to live more naturally in a more beautiful, less wasteful environment
  • – Why architecture has taken a step backwards instead of forward when it comes to sustainability
  • – The 7 Petals that make up the Living Building Challenge
  • – Have we superseded sustainability and moved to the next phase of design?
  • – Why we need to start being regenerative instead of just sustainable
  • – How quickly would we clean up our world if we all picked up one piece of rubbish every day?
  • – How to start implementing better design principles (with something as simple as a staircase)


Living Future Institute Australia

Stephen Choi – LinkedIn

Show notes & podcast production provided by Amplify