Why choose us?
- When considering the experiential and monetary value that most building and landscape projects entail, we drive the design process with you.
- We practise architecture in a traditional manner. That means treading a path of building procurement established over the Centuries – where an architect leads a team of consultants and experts through a design process. This is aimed at facilitating statutory approvals (as a minimum), then preparing working drawings and specifications for tender and contract administration of construction.
- New age notions of “Novation”, “Cost Plus” or “Design/Construct” building procurement are discouraged as they often fall short on quality and cost. Without documentation being cost/quality specific, the risk is born by clients and this potentially sets up conflict between clients and builders.
- We suggest you spend time with us “at the front end”, sorting out details and documenting them – then seeking competitive tenders that result in defined scope and an associated building contract sum.
- We choose traditional methods of design – simultaneously designing and drawing – in preference to allowing set piece computer based options to limit the design process. Designing by drawing is a didactic process – where the designer gains instruction as ideas and the act of drawing come together. This is as valid for urban and site planning design as it is for developing the form of cabinetry and construction details.
“Green” & “Environmental”
Australian architects have long been at the forefront of environmental design. Melbourne in particular is the city that has delivered successive groups of architects who have developed environmental and passive solar designs largely as a response to its urban fabric. Underpinning this is the ancient notion of framing external space using courtyards. Combined with an understanding of how seasonal movement of the sun can be utilised along with devices such as verandahs, eaves, pergolas and deciduous plants, courtyards of many forms often deliver heating and cooling strategies for building occupants.
By way of example – Sir Roy Grounds’ courtyard houses became a template for his design of the National Gallery of Victoria.
Whilst recent federal and state governments have jumped on board to support long established principles of environmental design – terms such as “green” and “environmental” are nothing new to architects – so clients can expect a mature understanding that goes beyond new age spin.
We seek to add sensible and cost effective “green” elements to the design process.
“Custom Design” vs “Off the Shelf”
“Custom design” is in our DNA – as architects and landscape designers we understand that it underpins long term and cost effective building performance.
The Romans understood this – whereas much of 20th. Century design hubris denied it – considering that “off the shelf” buildings could be scattered the world over for efficiency’s sake. 20th. Century theory considers that “off the shelf” buildings were “machines for living” – and by implication that humans could be considered as cogs in the machine. Mass housing projects describing sameness have failed and this gives us instruction – that people, cultures and contexts are invariably unique. Accordingly, our aim is to understand and accommodate people/contexts through design and realisation of built environments.
“Why isn’t every building subject to custom design?” – given the cost and psychological benefits to individuals, families, organisations and governments of effective site planning by means of environmental design, this is the perpetual question we pose.
Even a limited amount of custom design – where site aspect, slope, client needs – are brought together, should be an essential attribute of every new or renovated building. “Cost effective now” rarely translates into “cost effective in 5-10-25 years”.
Poor siting, inadequate building insulation, marginal performance of building services – these often produce a premature use-by date ultimately costing owners/occupants more.
We promote the theorist Christopher Alexander’s idea of “goodness of fit” in building and landscape design. We recognise that buildings should not be considered in isolation – that context and designed external environments are indelibly linked to internal accommodation.
Being accessible to all who value principles of custom design is our aim.
Accordingly, our fees seek engagement with all who are interested in architectural input to their design and construction consideration.
We welcome contact and initial dialogue – then resulting in a quote for our services.
See our “What We Do”.
- In most cases a copy of the site’s Certificate of Title will be a useful document – enabling site dimensions and bearings to be understood along with any easements and encumbrances such as covenants.
- When visiting your site and/or building, we will take preliminary measurements and seek to understand neighbouring properties. Any real estate plan or previously prepared plans that can be sacrificed will provide a useful basis for our site measurement process.
- Our conversational briefing process will establish basic functional needs. Any particular items or options that clients can bring to discussions can be tabled at the briefing.
After sketch design service
Much of what architects and landscape designers do is to develop and detail buildings and external works arising out of an initial sketch design process.
We encourage and seek clients continuity in a detailed process that includes the involvement of consultants such as land surveyors, structural engineers, quantity surveyors, thermal performance assessors, planners, heritage consultants, mechanical & electrical services consultants as required by the project scope.
Our service potentially results in an application for statutory planning and/or building surveying permits. This achieves a minimum standard of documentation. Depending on your project specifics, our fee submission will identify these as stages.
Once likely project cost is understood by means of a cost planning process, additional working drawings and specifications can be prepared ready for receipt of competitive tenders. The tender process includes us meeting tenderers on site and fielding their questions. Once tenders are received and any negotiations are completed, a building contract is prepared for signing between Owner and Contractor.
If the working drawings are used for owner/building, construction commences directly and quotes can be received from specialist trades.
Full architectural services includes administration of an Australian Building Industry Contract (ABIC) jointly issued by the AIA and MBA. This allows an architect to administer the building contract between Owner and Contractor including onsite assessment, preparation of progress certificates/retention, notice of practical completion and final certificate.
From sketch design through to final certificate, our relationship endures for a period on average lasting 12 to 18 months.