Shoreham House 22.05.13
We’ve just posted one of our latest projects on our residential page, the Shoreham House. Check it out here to see more photos of this beautiful property!
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Renovation Information Night 07.05.13
If you’re thinking of renovating or building in the future, then please join us for a free Renovation Information Night, at 7pm on Thursday the 16th of May in Moorabbin. Antony and Jim will be joined by Phil Murdoch of PM&R Constructions, and Adele Locke from Mint Lighting Design. In the one hour session, you’ll learn about how best to renovate your home as a responsible, long-term investment.
We believe there is too much misinformation about each of these aspects of renovation. We have designed our Renovation Information Night to help our community better understand the process of design and building. There is no intention to sell our services – we simply hope to share our collective knowledge and put you in a position to make informed decisions about a substantial investment in your home.
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Renovation shows and magazines make it sound so easy – in reality too easy to be true. On the other hand, horror stories from friends and colleagues warn of cost and time overruns, rushed fitting selections and unreliable tradespeople.
The truth is that good planning and a clear understanding of the process is essential to realising your project without nasty surprises.
When? 7pm, Thursday 16 May
Where? Mint Lighting Design Studio – 3 Corr Street, Moorabbin
Bookings are essential, as places are limited. If you’re interested in coming along, please email email@example.com
- Understanding the process of design and building will help you make informed decisions about what is achievable and who you may want to work with;
- Understanding regulatory and town planning requirements will help you avoid lengthy delays and difficulties with your neighbours;
- Understanding the financial costs of building will help you determine what you can afford to build;
- Understanding the environmental costs of building will help you meet your own needs without compromising those of future generations;
- And understanding the art of lighting will help you consider the quality of spaces you want to create.
- Builder Phil Murdoch will talk about how builders work and the typical cost of inner-suburban renovations;
- Lighting designer Adele Locke will talk about making the most of your space and saving energy through better lighting;
- Jim Stewart from Di Mase Architects will talk about practical ways to make your house more sustainable;
- And architect Antony Di Mase will talk about how the design process turns your ideas and aspirations into a real project.
Each speaker will present for 10 minutes and we will conclude the evening with 20 minutes of Q&A. In just one hour you will have a more realistic view of what is possible, which could make a real difference to your home, the environment and your finances.
A Symbiosis of Light & Architecture 18.04.13
Some of our readers may remember Antony blogging about his experiences at the 2012 University of Florida Daylight Thinking Course in Vicenza, Italy. From that experience, Antony met and maintained contact with Giovanni Traverso, one of leaders of the Daylight Thinking Course. The DMA office is delighted that Giovanni has come to Australia, and as part of his visit the Victorian Chapter of the IEC Lighting Society will be presenting Giovanni and his talk ‘A Symbiosis of Light & Architecture’. Antony will be speaking on the night, and introducing Giovanni to the light and design community.
Stay tuned for photos from the night!
Antony's Article in Architecture Australia 16.02.13
Light is wonderful. It sustains us, is abundant and ever-present. Light connects us with each other and the environment we live in. At Di Mase Architects we aim to bring buildings to light, and daylight is part of our daily discourse.
So we’re excited that Antony’s most recent piece, ‘Making more of our relationship to light’, has been published in the dossier section of Architecture Australia Jan/Feb 2013 edition. Check it out in your latest AA issue, or below.
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Making more of our Relationship to Light – by Antony Di Mase
“The laws of physics are so benign, so generous. And get this…That rain is our sunlight Professor Beard. It drenches our planet, drives our climate and its life. A sweet rain of photons, and all we have to do is hold out our cups!” – from Solar by Ian McEwan
It’s simple and obvious: “all we have to do is hold out our cups” and capture the natural light that “drenches our planet”. Consider that on any given day the illuminance of the average office building’s façade is about 100,000 lux, and all we need to light a desk inside that building is around 320 lux. By better using the visible parts of daylight while excluding unwanted heat, we can reduce the amount of energy required for lighting while also curtailing energy usage for heating and cooling. Smarter use of daylight equals increased sustainability – it’s that simple.
But it goes further than that. Incorporating more daylight into our buildings helps us maintain the deep relationship we have with it. We may live in a virtual world of bright city lights, but our bodies still work on a continuous 24 hour cycle. In a building with ample natural light, people see and feel the rhythm of the day, the time of day, the weather patterns and a sense of season. The dance of daylight promotes human comfort and wellbeing.
Yet for all the benefits of natural light, our homes and offices are nearly entirely artificially lit. Pressure to reduce energy consumption is being offset by the increasing sophistication, efficiency and cost effectiveness of artificial lighting options. The flexibility of today’s artificial light technology means we can design and light buildings of any shape, size and orientation, with little or no consideration of ambient light. We are relying increasingly on engineering solutions, rather than natural solutions, to light our buildings.
In many ways this is taking the easy way out. Daylight design can be a difficult science to master. While the sun emits a more or less constant light, the rotation of Earth, tilt of the Earth’s axis and ever-changing weather conditions mean that each hour of each day produces a different level and even colour of natural light. We cannot predict exact light levels at any given moment.
By contrast, artificial lighting can provide constant, predictable light – something that becomes even more important when code requirements, such as those defined by Part J of the Building Code of Australia, specify required light levels in any given situation. But, as already described, this comes at a cost of increased energy use and isolation from mother nature.
We can do better.
Light is what architects do well. Architecture is at its heart the art and science of daylight. It is one of the first aspects considered in planning spaces. In architectural and vernacular buildings, there exists a rich history of playing with light and space. Churches and cathedrals use light to inspire a connection to God. Houses, factories and offices use light for practical purposes. Hospitals (sometimes) offer patients views to nature to assist in their recuperation. Architects intuitively understand daylight design.
The skill of daylighting lies in working with first the principles of design and with daylight analysis, in testing how light responds to surfaces and space. It lies in understanding the behavior and composition of light, and in appreciating how humans respond to light.
Working with a moving and changeable light source gives architects an opportunity for design innovation. Daylight design opens the possibility of the unexpected play of light that can delight and inspire. It leads to the creation of buildings that are more open to the nuances of light rather than offering the monotonous predictability of engineered lighting systems.
There are many fine examples of architecture that is inspired by light. Using the law that the angle of reflection equals the angle of incidence, Dr Helmut Koster has designed a reflective metal screen that reflects incoming sunlight onto the ceiling. In the Philippines plastic water bottles are used to pierce roof sheeting to become the simplest of skylights in poor communities. The plastic bottles are partially filled with water and bleach to diffuse the light and prevent contamination, producing the same amount of light as a 50 watt globe at no ongoing cost.
Innovation can also be found in the combination of artificial lighting with daylighting. Indeed the integration of daylight can be much easier if we combine the two. Inexpensive lighting such as LEDs can be used adjacent to windows to reduce glare. Using different colour temperatures in lamps can reinforce the colours of daylight specific to a building’s orientation. We can create different light levels and light qualities by understanding materials, colours and the use of diffusing materials to direct and screen light. The external skin of a building can even be conceived as a giant light filter, rather like a giant lamp fitting. Buildings can be designed to be dynamic, responding to changing daylight conditions and allowing light in as needed.
Opportunities to take advantage of daylight in architecture are as abundant as the light itself. While Ian McEwan, in Solar, notes how inept we have been at making use of the energy of the sun, we can be better at making use of its light.
The DMA Shopfront – Lego! 22.01.13
After the success of our 2012 front window installations, the office has decided to commit to a New Year’s Resolution: over the coming year, the shopfront of Di Mase Architects will continue to show the local community (and our online readers through this blog) what we love, what we’re interested in and what we’re all about!
Di Mase Architects loves architecture, but not many people would know one of our other loves…Lego! For one of our staff members, Jim Stewart, Lego is still a big part of his life and he’s been generous enough to bring in his collection. To start off 2013 with a bit of fun and frivolity, our front window will house a Lego Fallingwater, Guggenheim Museum and Farnsworth House for the next month. The star of the show (and Jim’s favourite) is the 1000+ piece 1962 Volkswagen T1 Camper Van.
Perhaps you should bring the VW Camper on a tour South of the River? A van in residence perhaps, grand prix is coming?
One of our earliest houses is for sale. 19.10.12
This house from 2002 is for sale and it is looking as good as the day we handed it over to the owners. It is a simple family home – full of light and space. Visiting it recently made me realise that light, place and connection to outside was important then just as it is today. I hope my clients get a great price for their investment and the new owners appreciate it as the current owners do. To see more click here For those interested in visiting the house it is located at 96 Clauscen Street North Fitzroy.
First Principles in Design 09.10.12
My lighting course at QUT has got me looking at the solar exposure on buildings for different facades using sun charts and other material. Undertaking this analysis before doing any design work is the best way to integrate daylight design into our design work. This approach which you can see here is now being integrated into all of our design work. This will make sure that we understand and track the movement of the sun so that we can make the best use of daylight in all of our projects. It sounds so basic but it illustrates the importance of first principles in design. Buildings should be a direct result of the analysis that we undertake at this early stage. A building that responds to the movement of the sun will be there for a lifetime to enjoy!
7 Deadly Sins 31.08.12
7 Deadly Sins… + Salvation is an exploration of light, colour and architecture born out of collaboration between Adele Locke, Light and Di Mase Architects. We started with the idea that there should be some way of demonstrating the facets of our work which we find most interesting and important – for Adele, types of light, colour and shadow, and for Antony daylight, shadow play and the built form. You can see it every night, from 5.30pm to 8.30pm from August 18th for 7 weeks only – in our window at 342 St Georges Road North Fitzroy.
Making Spaces their Own 31.08.12
– a great profile of the practice by Melbourne architecture writer Stephen Crafti
Cardboard models of houses, warehouses and cafes fill the shelves in the studio of Di Mase Architects in St. Georges Road, Fitzroy. While computers feature on every table top, there’s also a sense of the hand crafted, with a large work bench in the centre of the studio used to make the models. “Model making is an important part of the design process. It’s something our clients can hold and relate to,” says architect Antony Di Mase, Director of the practice, who graduated in architecture from Melbourne University in 1987.
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Antony worked in the office of Maddison Architects, as a Senior Architect, for a number of years. He worked alongside Architect Peter Maddison, now host of Grand Designs Australia, before starting his own practice in 2000. Family and friends started approaching him to design houses for them and the time seemed right. “I’ve always had a strong sense of what architecture can deliver to clients, as well as how it relates to the broader community,” says Antony.
A crucial starting point for Di Mase is listening to clients in a direct and honest way. A co-operative model underpins any project, whether residential, commercial or institutional. “Clients don’t want to hear about every design detail, but they certainly need and want to understand where we are going with their projects. You also really need to get below the surface and find out what they are actually looking for,” says Antony.
The client’s goals and aspirations are initially teased out and an architectural form starts to emerge. A feasibility concept is then presented to clients, with clients asked to provide feedback of the brief given to them by the architects. “It’s not about detail at this stage. It’s more important to get a sense of what they really want and what will suit their needs,” says Antony, who then transforms these ideas into a three dimensional model in the scale of 1:200.
One of the main issues with any design is provision of natural light, something that Antony feels is paramount to the success of every project. As well as studying a ‘day’ lighting course in Vicenza, Italy, Antony is also undertaking a Masters in Lighting at the Queensland University of Technology. In countries such as Australia, with two and a half thousand hours of daylight every year, attention to natural light is fundamental. “We should be making more of our natural light, reducing heating costs, as well as strengthening the connection to the outdoors,” says Antony, who is also involved with the Illuminating Engineers Society (IES) in Melbourne. “There’s been enormous advances in artificial lighting, but you can never duplicate natural lighting with all its subtlety,” he adds.
Antony’s commitment to improving the use of natural light was recently demonstrated at Melbourne’s Federation Square in an exhibition titled ‘Light in Winter’ (July 2012). The exhibition illuminated the square both at night and during the day. Di Mase’s installation, a tent-like structure made from cool-room panels and steel, included striations to facilitate the entry of natural light. “The design was inspired by the simple camping tent as well as some of those extraordinary churches built in the 1960s, where the form was literally cranked towards the light,” says Antony. The form of Antony’s installation, which had curved edges like a gum leaf, has inspired a number of subsequent architectural projects, such as Scribe, a publishing house in Brunswick.
Scribe Publications, which occupies a 1960s building, required unique lighting solutions. Editorial rooms need to cater for high concentration environments. To achieve the right light, both in quality and amount, Di Mase Architects inserted skylights between the roof joints. A band of yellow paint extends from the roof and ‘spills’ onto the walls, creating the idea of continual as well as expansive light. “The idea is to enjoy daylight across the seasons and integrate natural light with artificial light,” says Antony, pointing out pendant lights placed directly below the skylights. This technique was pioneered by the legendary Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, and was also used by Le Corbusier; both architects are revered in the Di Mase studio.
Di Mase Architects are also committed to reusing existing building stock. This can be seen with the refurbishment of a 1920s warehouse in Collingwood, Melbourne. Previously subdivided into eight townhouses by a developer, Di Mase was commissioned to refurbish one of the eight two-storey homes. The owners appreciated the building’s shell, as well as its location, but they wanted to erase the Balinese theme the previous owners went with. A straw-lined ceiling was difficult to live with, as was the carpet on the walls and the pot belly stove stuck right in the middle of the living areas.
While the bones of the two-storey townhouse were in good condition, the additions were problematic. “Often we find it’s about stripping things away and revealing the original features,” says Antony, who removed the straw from the ceiling to accentuate the chunky timber trusses. Customised joinery also allowed the owners to display their art work, objects and books. The tired kitchen was replaced with timber joinery to provide warmth and tactility. “We regularly hear that our spaces have a sanctuary-like quality, a place where you can instantly relax,” says Antony, who attributes this feeling in part to the quality of light.
Although Di Mase Architects enjoy the challenges of residential work, they also appreciate larger community-based projects. They are currently designing a ‘link’ building for the Uniting Church in Balwyn. This link will connect a late 1930s cream brick church to a hall built at the turn of the twentieth century. As the church is located on a busy thoroughfare (Burke Road), the brief included creating a safer and more pleasurable point of entry. The new link, in brick, steel and glass, will not only connect the two buildings, but will also provide a point of arrival together with additional meeting spaces for the congregation.
Like the Uniting Church project, clients often come to Di Mase Architects without a firm brief. “For the church we had to develop the brief after work-shopping ideas with our clients and allowing them to take ownership of the work,” says Antony.
Australian Hotels Association Bar 23.08.12
We have just completed a bar refurbishment for the Australian Hotels Association in the CAD of Melbourne. The main function room needed a new refurbished bar for their guests and staff. Melanie O’Brien from our office designed a bar that brought warmth of different timbers to this corporate space. She used a combination of oregon, Tasmanian blackwood and ironbark to bring the bar to life and create a clear focal point. Although the project is not quite finished – we will post more photos soon when the back shelves are stocked and the long red light is installed over the bar.
Brunswick Studio 16.08.12
This carefully considered rear garage and studio to a house in Brunswick is just a few weeks away from completion.
It will mark the end of an exciting two-stage renovation, which has sensitively transformed this small inner-urban house into a complete and functional family home.
This major extension to a double-fronted terrace in Clifton Hill has just been completed. Angelique has done a great job on the finishes, joinery and lighting details.
51 Daylight Thinking Notes 03.08.12
See Antony’s 51 notes from the Daylighting Course from Vicenza.
Feel free to add comments and thoughts in our comments section.
The course I undertook introduces the culture of daylight both as an expressive device, and as a technical tool for a sustainable design approach. Artificial light is presented not as an independent topic, but both in its integration with daylight and its increasing capacity as a key component for a positive impact on human well-being. Alongside the studies, the course encompasses a programme of lectures, seminars and conferences, delivered by a varied body of experts and professionals.
True Light 27.07.12
Angelique gave an enlightening (no pun intended) presentation this Wednesday evening at the IES’ Pecha Kucha event True Light.
Check it out below!
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Over the last few years we have become increasingly fascinated with light – in particular daylight, and the lost art of day lighting in architecture.
While we wouldn’t yet claim to be experts in day lighting but we are definitely keen enthusiasts. Tonight we have a few examples of work in which daylight has played an important role – but mostly we want to share with you what inspires us and to consider the glorious simplicity of daylight in our everyday lives.
First some thoughts from the members of our team on what daylight means to them. A hint of daylight brings life to architecture. It’s not complicated but it makes me happy! Daylight is safe, warm and joyful; shadow is hazardous, cool and dramatic. To appreciate daylight you need to know its absence in darkness.
Daylight is one of the natural lights, which gives us the impression of the vastness of space. When so much of our life is spent indoors, daylight becomes our primary connection with the world around us.
With the abundance of technology now available to light and condition our buildings, it is important to remember that – at its most basic level – architecture is the art of filtering the outside world.
Our interest in day lighting came about through Antony’s involvement with the IES lighting awards, and the realization that the current focus of lighting design is on more efficient luminaires and complex lighting control systems. It seemed that there was a growing disconnect between lighting and architecture.
It was not until relatively recently that buildings could be built any shape and size, thanks to the abundance of cheap electric lighting. A lot can be learnt from looking at older buildings, in which daylight formed an integral part of the architecture.
We believe tapping into this lost art can play a significant role in making our buildings more sustainable. Sunlight is a powerful resource, which if harnessed correctly can significantly reduce heating and lighting costs while simultaneously improving human physical and psychological comfort.
There is a tendency for building codes to target the lowest hanging fruit of sustainability, sealing buildings tight, increasing insulation and minimizing glazing. While important, these strategies risk cutting us off from the outside world. With effective daylight design we can create sustainable spaces without losing this connection to our environment.
A connection to the outdoors is essential to human health and happiness. Even when not everyone can have a view, natural light in a space is important to put inhabitants in touch with the subtle changes in light quality across the day that govern natural human cycles and circadian rhythms.
Of course, lighting spaces with daylight is not a simple thing. The sun is a complex light source – and although we can track and model projected sun paths and intensities it is impossible to guarantee the light to a particular point at any given moment.
Our building skins need to act as light shades, which reflect, refract and diffuse the light source to achieve the desired effect. Like in these façade louvre systems, which exclude the heat portion of daylight and bounce the visible light deep into the building.
Despite the complexity of the science, there is also an inherent simplicity in the beauty of daylight. The skylights in this Brunswick office fitout are a great example of this simplicity. The editorial suites were effectively land-locked, with no external walls or obvious access to natural light.
By integrating a single skylight with a single light fitting in each room workers were given a connection to the changing external light and control over their internal conditions. The subtlety of daylight became obvious, when the fitting is turned on, it tends to bleach colour out of the space.
For this renovation project in West Melbourne we are using fins to bounce daylight into the space in interesting ways. We are using 3D models to visualise how the light might work in internal spaces, where previously the focus was on external shadows and building form.
Antony has also just returned from a 2 week daylight thinking course in Italy. In between lectures, workshops and visits to inspirational buildings the clear message was that daylight design requires a specific way of thinking from the word go – it’s not just a feature that can be added later.
The wonderful thing about sunlight is that it is scaleable, so you can play and experiment with a model, take it outside and see shadows exactly as they would be on a full-scale building. This exploration of light, shade and trees was one of Antony’s workshop projects in Italy.
Perhaps the most exciting thing we’ve found is that people are interested and willing to engage with concepts of daylight – and this is something we’re trying to make the most of. A fun project we worked on as a team was Shed Light, an installation in Federation Square as part of the recent Light in Winter Festival.
Lighting installations often rely on artificial light for their effect, overlooking the power of natural light. We saw Shed Light as an opportunity to create a structure that responds to sunlight, moonlight and the light of the city – a light installation with no lights.
And with that thought I’ll let these final images speak for themselves and say thanks for listening.
After 10 years running the practice I have taken 2 weeks time out to re-charge my batteries and come to Italy. Far from sitting on a beach – I am doing a 10 day Daylight Thinking Course in Vicenza that is made up of mostly Lighting Designers and Architects. I have been amazed with what I have learnt so far and I can see many applications for when I get back to Melbourne in a week’s time. It is obvious – better integration of daylight into buildings means that we are more connected to the environment and our natural Circadian rhythms. We save energy, connect people to the environment and we can create spaces that are changing hour by hour.
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I have been really impressed with the idea of doing a Daylight Analysis or each site and building before starting the design work and to use models to experiment with daylight penetration and visual effects in interior spaces.
Giovanni Traverso is the main architect who has been running the 2 week program through the University of Florida and I have been really impressed with his work and his design approach. Today we visited Tadao Ando gallery in Venice in which I could not take any photos and the Olivetti showroom by Carlo Scarpa where I took over a hundred photos. I visited Scarpa’s showroom 20 years ago and it is as beautiful today as it was then. It feels like a house and I love the intimate spaces and the seemingly endless complexity of surfaces and textures that has been so beautifully resolved in nothing more than a terrace house sized showroom. Everything is resolved including the signage that is completely integrated into the architecture.
Last week I made the treacherous journey from Zurich to Ronchomp driving on the wrong side of the road. It was for me one of the most playful and well resolved buildings I have ever had the privilege of visiting. Also, today I visited a gallery full of Aldo Rossi drawings that were simply stunning and reminded me of a time not so long ago when architects drew big pictures by hand.
This trip has been amazing and re-ignited my love of architecture and design. The idea of integrating daylight into architecture is something everyone in the course is talking about especially the lighting designers who see it as a way to better collaborate with architects and achieve better environmental outcomes. We will see what comes of this trip when I return…
Shed Light Installed! 06.06.12
Work started early this morning in the freezing cold as we gathered to see our Shed Light installation delivered to Federation Square.
Check out more photos here
Shed Light 30.05.12
Our installation at Federation Square for this year’s Light in Winter – Shed Light exhibition is currently being fabricated by True Dimensional Steel in Berwick. These photos show the steel frame which has been fabricated by Mark Williams and his talented team. Both the engineer and builder visited the factory to check on details and see the great work. Even though the installation is tremporary – the fabricators will be grinding all of the welds to be smooth and they will be re-painting the frame so that the panel and the frame colours match. The cool room panels are going to be cut shortly, put on a truck and delivered to Federation Square. We have to be on site before 6am next Wednesday and spend about 3 hours installing the installation.
Who would have thought an object with no lighting could become an exhibit in a light exhibition.
Well done to Paul Beale and his team at Electrolight for putting this exhibition together.
Light + Shade 23.05.12
Going Far Together - Di Mase Office Culture 18.05.12
How do you build a equitable and inclusive workplace? Antony Di Mase reflects on the training and team-building processes explored as he has developed his architectural practice. Written for Parlour – a new website dedicated to women and equity in the Australian architecture industry.
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“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
– African proverb, quoted in “Our Choice” by Al Gore.
I started my own practice because I didn’t much like the politics of large firms and I found small practice dominated by the idiosyncrasies of its directors. Practice has, for me, become a design project unto itself – shaping its form and structure around the principles I bring to my architecture. That is, to make a difference to people’s lives through design and to share the experience with others.
Once my practice needed more people, I mostly employed students and recent graduates. Their lack of experience in the office was a real issue and so training and team building had to become a key part of the practice. Staff training started – way back when – as a set of simple constructions and contractual questions each week that tested their knowledge and research skills. It was pretty boring really, so the training evolved and we would visit and learn from others in the industry. For example we visited a joinery workshop, a tile shop and door hardware people and we had a presentation by a builder on good documentation. These people and others were incredibly generous with their time and were eager to share their craft and knowledge with us. I dedicate about two to three hours a week (about 5% of my staff’s work time) to training and to encouraging the team to learn and become more confident about asking questions and seeking answers.
The idea took hold within the office, and staff training has evolved to become part of a bigger discussion about the values and ideas that underpin our practice. I need to learn as well – so pretty much anything that interests me includes the rest of the team. Our Friday activities have now included workshop discussions on practice management, social media, communication and sustainability. We bring in or visit experts who have led discussions about their area of expertise, investigate what we do and how we communicate the work beyond our four walls. We have also visited galleries and undertaken activities such as clay model making. We have even done some work with local performers. Some ideas have worked better than others, but what has developed is a practice culture that is shared and valued.
I have learned that the relationships built around work are meaningful and that they are, of course, different to other relationships in our lives. There are boundaries and such relationships need to be principally built around the work of the practice. None of my staff are my Facebook friends and while we socialise it is not the main way we connect and communicate. The practice is about the work we do. It is important that the values and ideas are clear to all and that each person, including me, plays their role in implementing these ideas. The staff ‘buy-in to the game plan’ – to use footy speak – is crucial to our collective success as a practice. It is my role to bring overarching ideas and values to the practice and to ensure these ideas and values are implemented to their richest level for each and every project.
It is important to define open-ended roles for staff, so that they can grow into those roles. I seek to remove obstructions through the training and direction – so that they can fulfill their potential more quickly. For me, it is very much about getting young people to become project architects and to be able to manage a project with less and less intervention by me. Being their mentor is not the key here – in fact it is quite the opposite – it is to get them to become colleagues for whom sharing a vision for the practice is what matters. Measuring performance is easy because it is all about how well the ideas have been implemented and how much individuals are able to contribute to the well-being of the practice.
While much of these ideas probably come out of a social consciousness, it is really a business decision to do this training and mentoring work. To run a small practice that wants to grow and do better and better work is difficult. We all know that, and good people are needed to realise the potential of any practice. The business aim is all about retaining good staff for longer and attracting good staff as we continue to grow. When I started my practice I gave no thought to the impact of employing people and the effect this can have on their self-esteem and to their lives. It has been a pleasant surprise to see staff take on greater leadership roles at site meetings, client meetings, at our regular team meetings and to take strong positions on design issues. To see staff doing good work with little or no direction from me and for that work to be recognisably based on the ideas and values that have made this practice thrive has made the work worthwhile and enjoyable.
This work is not without its frustrations, mistakes and misgivings – but as with any long-term project it requires patience and faith. Training and mentoring has made a difference to my practice and it has been an experience that has been shared with others – something I set out to do when I started the practice. I enjoy seeing the transformation I can bring to clients through the work of the practice. In a similar way I have enjoyed employing good people and seeing them grow into fine young architects.
Matilda Bay - Brewers Canteen 27.04.12
Here is a sneak peak of our Matilda Bay project in Port Melbourne. The project is made from left over bits from the brewery. Everything from old metal drums, industrial lights and cool room panels were put together for the venue. It is a strangely intimate place at night – the beautiful industrial chandeliers by Volker Haug give the space a glow and warmth inside the huge brewery. These photos were taken by the very talented Matt Irwin who has captured the gritty urban feel of the place. We love having a drink there with Barney Mathews – the Venue Manager – and we hope lots of people do the same.
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These spaces make very evocative bars and work eqully well when brightly lit as they do when the lights are set to MOOD!