Monthly Archives: December 2014

6. The Core cont.

Delve a little deeper

Lean into the bend as we get to part 2

The first turn of this oddly made, amorphous gathering of beliefs is quite important  in the discipline of architecture. It revolves around the eye, position of the body, the nature and position of the architecture and is a critical factor in the decision making process for all those attempting to obtain it: just think  how many times have you heard the expression – $1,000,000 views?

The second belief is simply the appreciation of and desire to –

 ‘Value Views’

While this of course includes taking in glorious vistas, merging the interior and exterior, blurring boundaries and playing with sequence and staging  – from arrival, navigating the body through spaces, enticing the inhabitant ever beside the crescendo until they reach its peak. Whether directed externally to setting and the seasons or internally to central courtyards or secret embedded nooks, this finale is  a deliberate, meaningful and encompassing exchange between designer and inhabitant. The outcome of such phenomenological sequences is often a sense of reverence for what has been experienced and a sense of privilege to partake in this idiosyncratic and ephemeral play.

This belief while pragmatic in terms of optimizing monetary value of property and creating a pathway in and through the space that is captivating; it also extends to the practical ethos of how to design, make and build,


Unless you happen to be the sole occupant, designer, builder and trades person for this project – you will work with other people.

Note I did not say ‘have to work with other people’.

I do not see collaboration as a negative thing – this is a bit odd in terms of design – as designers tend to have visions they are quite precious about and are invested in seeing them eventuate as they see fit. Don’t misunderstand me, sure the ‘idea’ of collaboration is romanticized and even alive and well in exceptionally dynamic situations; but for the most part I see and hear a lot of blame, undermining, politic, pride, agenda and disrespect.

I think much of this belief for me is knowing my limits – while I challenge them to grow – I am only one person.

In my many years of hospitality work you learn to value true collaboration and the golden ticket of mutual respect. Rare. Very Rare. But I find if you offer respect first, know your limits, ask questions at the right time and offer any grace, knowledge or support at your disposal, it is actually possible. And that machine, with a single goal, will kick into gear – time will fly, the wave of service is ridden smoothly (or at least without complete disaster) and within all the craziness a small part of you sings.

You will encounter many specialists and problems in design and architecture – while taste is subjective and I encourage editing – never be cautious or forgetful to ask the specialists questions: what they would do? why? how? Seek understanding and their point of view and within those interactions will be nuggets of gold – maybe not always relevant for the current project – but valuable nonetheless.

One of my most memorable crescendo’s and finales in architecture was the first time I saw the Sydney Opera House. It was about 2am and the surrounding plaza was fairly empty, I had my eyes lowered to the steps rising beneath my feet so that the finale would surprise me – I didn’t want to peek, but take it all in at once. I was nervous when I reached the final step, I paused and then looked up –  immediately I was stunned, breathless and brimming with tears.

wonderment. amazed.

I drew closer, touching the handcrafted tiles that cover the surface, knowing they were fabricated off site and sent here for assembly. difficult. trust in each person involved to have the care and skill to actually put this thing together.

The most resounding part of that memory for me was a respect for the thoughtful lighting surrounding the building. It unforgettably lit the space gently, a warm and soft glow, knowing that brazen and hard spotlights were not needed for something so recognizable and familiar. The lighting added to the drama and I am certain that it was no mistake or stroke of good luck.

There is one other place I remember lighting taking my breath away.

At my brother in laws house, his front lights are perfect, the extension of the light, its soft dissipation, the fittings scale and shape complementing the facade instead of appearing stuck on and abrupt. It’s not surprising though – He is an exceptional Electrician – and as I continue in practice I will ever seek out his intuitive and skilled understanding of light, shadow and fixtures.

Know your limits. Respect others. Never be afraid to ask.

The work will always be better, richer, more dynamic, better made and more valuable for it.


The pictures:

Frank Lloyd Wright – Fallingwater House –

falling_water_5_by_twi924-d2xq9wq2 A.       download  B.


A. Image courtesy of

B. Image courtesy of


Alvar Aalto – Villa Mairea –

60_109739-copy C.  villa mairea 1 D.

C. & D. Images courtesy of


E. Image courtesy of





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