From penthouse to garden studio, from a small extension to a luxury mansion there’s no home project that won’t benefit from the practical magic of thoughtful design. Here’s how good architectural design will look and feel:
Inviting: Good architecture draws you in, creating a sense of welcome.
Nurturing: Good architecturecreates a sense of haven, a retreat from the hustle of life where you can relax and restore.Well designed buildings feel good, they uplift and inspire and feel ‘right’.
Sociable: From a chat on a window-seat, to a barbie on the deck with friends, good design includes a range of friendly spaces from the intimate.
Beautiful: Well-designed homes are beautiful places to be. When proportion, space, light, materials and texture are artfully composed they will delight the senses.
Practical. Life is easier in a well-designed home. A thoughtfully planned home will help you stay organised, streamline their tasks and make daily life efficient.
A total environment: good architectural design responds to the context and creates a cohesive whole . Elements like terrain, views, climate, sunlight, prevailing breezes, street approach, and surrounding buildings will influence the design. Well-designed buildings are connect to the setting and give something back to the locality.
Unique: A well-designed building expresses individuality and says something about the inhabitants. In the commercial sector architecture can convey brand and image – a signature building is great for business.
Problem-solving: It’s rare to start with a perfect slate; some sites will be narrow or steep or you might have a house that’s awkward, dark or inefficient. It’s not always easy to see the way forward, but a skilled designer will come up with creative solutions to help make the most of what you have.
Details: A well-designed home will be crafted with care, precision, and attention to detail. Doors will swing smoothly, you won’t trip on thresholds, cupboards will be easy to reach and windows will open with little effort.
Durable: A quality building will age gracefully. Despite natural wear and it tear it will stand up just as well and look good over time.
Sustainable: Well-designed buildings are economical with space, energy, and materials – they’re kind to the earth and it’s resources.
Economical: Good architectural design is for everyone. A skilled architect will be able to design within constraints, using construction methods, materials and design methods to craft imaginative and ingeniuous solutions for any project.
Personal: While the architect may bring design expertise, the client is the expert on how they like to live and what they love. Close collaboration is crucial in developing a design tailored to the site and to those who live there.
Flair: Good design contains a little bit of stardust. Magic happens when the the aesthetic and the practical are artfully woven together.
Architecture is the most inescapable of art forms. We live with it and in it, – buildings are the backdrop of life. Twenty-five years as an architect has also taught me that buildings are more than the bricks and mortar.
As British architect Rowan Moore says “…the space we occupy is not neutral to us. We cannot look at it with detachment. We are in it, we make it, and it makes us.” Our spaces and places matter to us. Buildings have a powerful effect on our feelings, efficiency, health, and happiness.
Homes in particular become a part of us. They cradle our lives and during the pandemic home has a heightened sense of sanctuary. For most of us home is safety – emotional as well as physical. We grow attached. Memories tangle with the places where they happen. Home and identity mingle in ways that are deep.
I help my clients dream up homes or alter them. My aim is to create places with heart and soul – a home not a house. Designing this way takes thought and intention and a close collaboration. At the first client meeting we dig for what matters most to them – a central idea that will drive their design. I’m not talking a look or style here but something deeper; values and hopes. Profound notions like sanctuary and welcome, warmth and love, nature and beauty.
Here are a few of our projects with the people behind them with a big ideas:
Not long ago we designed a house on the Fleurieu peninsula for a burly big-hearted journalist who wanted a second home on his property to accommodate his bubbly brood of grandkids each summer holiday. For him and his wife, family is everything.
I’ve had several clients who’ve spent a good chunk of their building budget on the kitchen. For them love is feeding people and their home was designed around hospitality.
There’s the classical pianist who’s transforming her living space into a ‘salon’ where her recitals will be a total experience of sound and place.
And the GP who spent up on the street appeal of his shopping development because he wanted to give something to the neighbourhood.
There’s the scientist and teacher with modest tastes who love the natural world. Their currently evolving design is all about seamless connection with the landscape.
And lastly… the ultra-cool, inner-city couple, both interior designers who live for art and design and have such good taste it hurts. They consider every detail – the look of their spaces, the art, the furniture, the fireplace, the cat, the plates they eat from. Beauty is everything with this couple and I loved working with them.
Realities played a role in all these buildings; there is never a perfect situation. Sites bring constraints, priorities can differ (sometimes I feel like a marriage counsellor!), costs can curb dreams, councils have rules. But that is the work of an architect to use the tools of design – proportion, volume, light, flow and connection – and develop creative solutions while preserving the big idea.
Regardless of their traits and challenges, the lesson from all of these projects was the same: good architecture is personal. A reflection of the people who dream it, create it and live it.