Honoured to be interviewed for the spring / summer “Power” edition of The Architect magazine published by the WA Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects.
"What is the most powerful piece of architecture in your experience? Can you describe a moment with that building/space?
For me, it is Antonio Gaudi in Barcelona. Gaudi’s work is powerful because of its uniqueness, the curvy liquid lines and forms that look like they are melting, standing in stark contrast to the surrounding serious, rectilinear buildings. What adds to the power of Gaudi’s architecture is that behind his whimsical forms are highly sophisticated mathematics and structural engineering based on nature.
How does power affect your work?
As a residential architect, power is about empowering the client to express their views—encouraging them to explain what they would like their home to be. For most residential clients, their home is the single biggest investment they will make in their life and they should enjoy both the design process and the outcome.
The Historic Heart Project is about empowering the community of Perth’s east end to drive change in their neighbourhoods. The idea of community-led not-for-profit groups leading neighbourhood revitalisation is growing in Perth and internationally. Already this movement has sprouted groups like Leederville Connect, Beaufort Street Network and West Perth Local.
With recent societal shifts and ideas like the sharing economy do you think power is becoming more visible in the built environment?
Power has always been visible in the built environment. From the size of a house to the scale of a new football stadium these are expressions of where power lies. Other than collective workspaces I think we are yet to see what impact the sharing economy will have on the built environment in Perth. But it will be interesting to see what happens over time, for example, what will Airbnb mean for housing design and what will Uber mean for the design of our public transport networks?
I think the most visible power shift in the built environment at the moment in Perth is from the city to the suburbs. With the expansion of suburban shopping centres suburbs are becoming places where people live and can also be entertained. One of the issues the Historic Heart project deals with is: How does the city respond to this power shift and maintain relevance and vibrancy?