Kylee recently participated in a Q&A about creativity, inspiration and architectural trends. Here’s how it went….
How would you describe your architectural style?
“My style is diverse, and this is reflected in the fact that we have so many types of projects that we work on [at Fratelle Group]. Each project doesn’t adhere to the same style every time. We make it specific to suit the project. So I guess it’s not so much a style, but an inspiration we take for each project from an idea or the client brief that informs our approach to that particular design.
For example, at the moment we are working on a number of projects that are quite contemporary, including office buildings, recreation and retail centres, and multi-residential units. But we are also designing a number of heritage projects, such as the Guildford Hotel, which needed to be quite sympathetic to the style of the era. Our aged care work needs to be driven by function of the building, rather following than a singular design concept. And finally, we are designing urban projects such as a bridge, which is super modern with lots of flowing lines, brightly coloured and is very different to any of our other projects.
Each design approach responds differently to our client’s brief and the context of the project, but having a strong story for each project from the project outset is very important, and carrying this through the design to completion. There is not one single style that I find is continuous through every project at Fratelle.”
How would you say your architectural style and focus evolved over your career?
“I think my design style has become more refined after being exposed to different projects and knowing what works and what doesn’t. Also trying to push the boundaries of design with projects is not something I have really shied away from, therefore we really challenge our ideas.
I think it’s important to test ideas and test the boundaries of architecture through your designs. But also ensuring projects are buildable and cost effective because at the end of the day you can come up with the most amazing, fantastic looking design but it is no good to anyone if you can’t afford to build it.”
How do you approach each project creatively?
“It’s very much a collaborative team approach at Fratelle Group. In terms of our creative methodology we start with getting into the head of our client to create a really robust brief. We do spend the time trying to understand their drive for the project and how they will interact with the space for the long term, not just how many rooms they need and how big they need the building to be. The outcomes they want to achieve, the experience they want to have in the space is all important to us to gain the best understanding for the project. Its more than just about the construction of the building, it’s about how they will interact within the space into the future.
This is actually a really fun process, workshopping ideas with our team and allowing those creative juices to flow. “
What are the characteristics of great architecture?
“To me great architecture doesn’t have to be obvious or iconic. You walk into a space and it just feels right. A space feels right if it is designed correctly and the trick is being able to capture this from an initial idea, and staying true to that idea to completion of the building.
Sometimes it’s something you can’t explain and you don’t have to – because you just walk in and the space is light and airy, it feels well resolved and it provides moments within the space. So yes, good design it’s not excessive…it’s not gaudy and it’s not in your face…
And that’s the thing, because there are so many different styles of design, not just in architecture that I appreciate. I think high quality finish is always important. You can always tell if something is good quality. You always know.”
What are the key trends for 2015?
“In Australia we have so many amazing materials being brought to market, so to me it’s about exploring new materials and allowing these materials speak for themselves. Not trying to cover them up with lots of extra bits. So raw natural materials within buildings I feel will be a design trend.
I think the increase of digital resources available to the profession is allowing us to also test new materials and design concepts in ways that haven’t been possible in the past. Computer aided modelling is allowing us to further test the limits of design, and with the increase in virtual modelling, it is becoming easier for us to explain our ideas to our clients, and model concepts in their built environment further than ever before.
Another key trend would be sustainability. Whilst this is not a new “trend” more a necessity in design, every year sustainability in design is becoming more and more important as we are becoming increasingly conscious as a society of the long term impact we are having on the environment. At Fratelle we often look towards carbon neutral or reduced impact carbon footprint being intrinsic to our designs for projects if the budget allows, rather than just tacking products that reduce water or power consumption onto the outside of a building. A passive approach to sustainability is always a preferred option, allowing patrons to use the space as they intend without needing a master’s degree to operate a building effectively.
Excluding these, I don’t feel like I stick to ‘trends’ in architecture, certainly when it comes to design fads. A trend to me is something that comes and goes quickly and architectural buildings are here for a long time, that long outlast current trends – architecture needs to be timeless.
That’s not to say that the built form and the spaces we design aren’t contemporary or ‘now’ but its not something I would look at as a pure driver of our designs….You don’t want people to look at a building in 20 years’ time and say ‘oh that’s from 2015’.”