The Story / by Nerio

“A windmill was born out of the need to convert wind into energy, in its most basic form it can teach us so much about designing to minimise input and maximise output.”

THE MILL: ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN began in 2006 in an effort to meet the need for a growing industry of simple, passive design. Owned by Shannon Battisson, head architect with over 14 years experience who specialises in high performance environmentally responsive design, and Sarah Lesson with more than 10 years experience, an interior designer with a passion for helping clients get the most out of their projects.

By 2012 The Mill grew into a full time endeavour in response to our different approach to environmental design, not available in the Canberra market at the time. The Mill aspires to create designs for our clients which not only meet their day to day needs, their dreams and budget, but also provide spaces which require minimal mechanical input for comfort level.  In basic terms, we wanted to show people that you don’t have to give up any of your modern comforts to live in a home that doesn’t cost you (or the earth) to maintain a comfortable temperature inside.

In 2014, The Mill took a massive leap of faith and built a home to help people get a better appreciation for the design and feeling inside a passive home. The home also helped to demonstrate what you can achieve on a tight budget. We opened the house by appointment for potential clients, and to the general public on Solar House Day and the Institute of Architects’ Sustainable House Day. The response to the project was overwhelmingly positive, and the company has grown exponentially through the exposure that it offered.  

The house has won several awards, including the HIA 2015 ACT/Southern NSW Region Custom Built Home up to $350,000, MBA 2016 Custom Built Home under 150m2, and has been finalist in both the HIA Greensmart awards, and the MBA Sustainable Construction categories.

Alongside the growth of the residential side of the company, The Mill has established a strong reputation within the commercial design realm, delivering projects across Canberra, NSW and Australia.  The strong development across both sectors has allowed our business to grow substantially in the four years we have been operating, moving from two staff to 5 permanent staff and 3 contract staff.

We are a boutique firm, but we have an output far exceeding our small size. In 2016, we had close to 60 projects running at various sizes and stages.  Whilst it is difficult to identify one single factor in the recent successes enjoyed by The Mill, we think it comes down to the fact that we are passionate about our industry, what we offer, and what we do.  We are highly dedicated to bettering the environment, and to helping our clients achieve the best outcome their budget can afford.  We thrive on creating a dynamic team of client, architect and builder, and the proven results we see with each project.