For me, being an architect is all about problem solving.
I like a big picture challenge and I get satisfaction from solving a design problem in a unique way. At its most basic, good design is design which understands and fulfils the brief. Excellent design does it in a unique and sometimes surprising way.
Retail design is a core strength of our company. This experience helps in the design of all our project types, because we’ve learned not just about the logistics of efficient planning, circulation and servicing issues – all of which support economic viability – but also about simply creating places where people like to be. Understanding the impact of environments on people and their behaviour is a key driver of our design process across all our projects.
The measure of a project is not its size, but how you respond to what is being asked of you as an architect. I’d count the Birkenhead Point, Sydney project as a real success in our retail portfolio. Our masterplan and design for the development was instrumental in resurrecting a run down, poorly performing retail centre. The property has changed hands twice since our first thoughts went down on paper, and its value has tripled.
On a smaller scale, a special project for me is the San Antonio Garden Crypts at Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney. A key starting point for the design was to understand that you’re designing for people who are in a very vulnerable place, so you really have to think about their personal experience at a difficult time for them. The overriding objective here from my point of view was to create a sense of peacefulness and openness but also a feeling of security and sanctuary. I think the result has all of that, as well as a sense of strength and serenity.