Sustainable Nimbin, 7 Sibley Street

Nimbin's Sustainable Living Hub

The Concept Plan was developed by Mark Floate working as part of the 7 Sibley St Design Team as part of Nimbin’s commitment to affordable and sustainable living. The purpose was to enable community discussion and decision-making in relation to the development of the site and to enable commencement of further funding raising and grant funding.

In developing the project brief, the Design Team considered all the input gathered from the community forums and meetings with Lismore Council. From these workshops and meetings, three distinct types of spaces keep recurring as ongoing ‘themes’ and these have become the basis for the areas provided in the plan.

  • Learning Spaces – ‘clean space’ – reception, information exchange, display / exhibition, library, seminar, meeting / discussion, link-up centre.
  • Production Spaces – ‘dirty space’ – workshops, shared tool space, community kitchen, food storage.
  • Landscape Spaces – ‘garden space’ – green open space, active exercise, quiet relaxation, hard-stand areas, kitchen gardens, food security.

The project aims to be more than just a demonstration of sustainable building practice. It will provide spaces for gathering and sharing information and knowledge, for work-shoping and experimenting in techniques relating to building, adapting to climate, food security and perma-culture. It will also provide more passive and informal spaces where people can meet socially and for events. The project seeks to provide a place than demonstrates sustainable living in terms of environment, ecology and sociology.

Key features of the Plan

  • The long gently curved ‘verandah’ or ‘arbour’ faces due north, tracking the sun’s movement and links the old house with the new buildings working to control the internal climate of the buildings by opening up to winter sun and screening out the summer sun whilst collecting the cooler breeze.
  • The timber structured framework allows a variety of ‘infill’ construction types that can be prototype demonstration and temporary experimental.
  • Curved paths and lines which join with or are sympathetic to other curved lines in the immediate environment.
  • The new building operates on two levels with the Learning/Clean Spaces above, accessed from Sibley Street level and the Production/Dirty Spaces below accessed from and integrated with the park.
  • The buildings across the site linked by an ‘arbor’ becomes a backdrop and a feature of the landscape with green walls, edible and fragrant and integrated with vertical art spaces.
  • Some buildings are considered as ‘pods’ or ‘places’ in the landscape which may be temporary constructions which can be reconstructed as part of ongoing skills development and events.

Energy Park

Lismore Council has indicated that the development of 7 Sibley Street should incorporate the development of the former skate park site which is directly adjacent and linked into Peace Park. This are will be developed as Energy Park.

The site will ultimately accommodate a range of interactive equipment which will meet the following purposes:

  • Providing outdoor exercise and fitness opportunities;
  • Generating kinetic energy to be used to power innovative elements of a life-scale game which will be part of a larger game which will progress along the Nimbin Walking Track;
  • Generating kinetic energy to demonstrate various aspects of renewable energy generation, use and technologies in an entertaining and engaging way.

In this way the site will link the existing skate park and peace park recreational area, with the Sustainable Living Hub which has a strong renewable energy focus.