Trend Watch October 2021

Students could have a field day with more outdoor learning:

“Australian students typically spend over 10,000 hours during their adolescence in schools” – despite this, the schoolyard hasn’t traditionally been viewed as a space to improve student wellbeing, writes Gweneth Leigh for the Sydney Morning Herald.

The return to classrooms in the wake of COVID-19 has prompted an urgent need for schools around the world to create learning spaces that are well-ventilated and socially distanced. Outdoor learning has proven to be an innovative and simple answer to this dilemma. 

“For some this meant clustering picnic tables together, building shade structures, adding trees, gardens, even yoga circles and mountain bike trails”- varied, resourceful outdoor classrooms have had a distinctively positive impact, they report.

Studies have revealed that greening school grounds helps students to feel “a greater sense of belonging among their peers, keeps them more physically active, strengthens their social skills and reduces classroom tensions.”

Despite the evidence, “challenges remain in identifying how school outdoor spaces can be better designed in ways that are inclusive and accessible to the needs of our teenage cohort” – designing with the preferences of teenagers in mind, instead of “based on assumptions of what adults think adolescents prefer.” Such designs, they write, risk alienating students in their own spaces.

It is clear that schoolyards designed with care, and with users in mind, will increase student wellbeing in Australian schools. Read the full article here.

Image: Hillbrook Anglican School.

Desperate move to save world’s largest tree in California:

California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range is home to some of the world’s oldest and biggest trees. Unfortunately, California’s National Parks are also home to fierce bushfires, which are growing more intense and frequent due to the effects of climate change: increasing temperatures and drought.

In September, during the KNP Complex fire, which was “sparked during a massive lightning storm on September 9,” firefighters wrapped the ancient trees in fire-resistant blankets, in a desperate attempt to protect them from the looming blaze.

The blankets aimed to prevent the fire from burning into tree bases and igniting vulnerable fire scars – signs of the many previous fires these trees have survived.

“The largest living tree on Earth,” a giant sequoia tree in the Sequoia National Park, known as ‘General Sherman’ “weighs around 2 million kilograms and is thought to be around 2500 years old.” Giant monarch sequoias “characterise the most famous area of Sequoia National park.” They are historically significant and an important drawcard, bringing many tourists to the site each year.

The aluminium wrapping, which was also wrapped around the Giant Forest Museum and other buildings in an effort to protect sensitive structures from flames, has been used for several years.

“Smaller fires generally do not harm the sequoias, which are protected by a thick bark, and actually help them to reproduce; the heat they generate opens cones to release seeds.” Larger blazes however, have the potential to cause widespread destruction.

Thanks to the blankets, the General Sherman tree, and other sequoias were successfully saved from the KNP Complex fire. Read the full article here.

Image: National Parks Service, Environmental Protection Agency.

make an enquiry

Opening hours are from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

enquire now

recent news

Join Us For Tea Time (via Zoom)

Take a quick (and educational) tea break with us! Customers are invited to book in a 10-minute Zoom chat to learn about new products. Presentations are guaranteed no longer than 10-minutes plus Q&A. Choose from: New Linea additions (recommended). Wood Without Worry. Or request a custom presentation. Each participant will receive a T2 gift box (optional). Book by contacting us on, or via the button below. Win a Georg Stool by Skagerak Tea Time bookings for Australian customers from 2 November 2021 will go into a draw for a chance to win an iconic Georg Stool by Scandinavian designer Skagerak, valued at $615. The prize will be drawn on 1 April 2022 and the winner notified by email. Ts and Cs: Presentations must be done by 1 April 2022. For customers based in …

  • 25 sep 2020
read more

In Profile: Kylie Legge, CEO of Place Score

A leading voice in placemaking, Kylie Legge is an architecture graduate, planner, place maker, author, facilitator, curator and entrepreneur. She is founding Director of Place Partners, a multidisciplinary placemaking consultancy based in Sydney, Australia and Place Score – the world’s first place experience measurement company. How did you get started and find your unique career pathway? My career has tended to veer off the beaten track. I’ve never been too worried about what other people think and am risk-hungry. I’m also interested in disruption – looking for better ways of doing things. At 23 as an architecture grad I talked my way into an internship at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. I lived a double life, working in a dive bar by night and at the most …

  • 26 apr 2022
read more

Book launch: CM+ celebrates 40 years of …urban thinking

Bill Morrison and Darrel Conybeare, co-founders and directors of Street Furniture Australia, are celebrating 40 years of design practice with their architecture and urban design studio, CM+. The two young architects, shaped by formative experiences in the US and UK working with major players such as Eames, William Holford & Partners and the Farrell/Grimshaw Partnership – started their own venture in 1980 to shape cities through the still-fledgling practice of urban design. Their work includes the redesign of Macquarie Street and Circular Quay in Sydney for the 1988 Bicentennial, designing prominent Canberra spaces such as City Walk, universities in China and Kuching Waterfront in Malaysia. Bill and Darrel’s philosophy considers how a design might discover a the urban pulse and heritage of a city, reveal its urban character, and recognise …

  • 19 may 2022
read more