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Architect Insight | Sept 2018

We talk all things Architecture & Construction with Paul Edwards, Architect - Director from Site Architecture Studio.

Tell us a bit about your firm:

SITE Architecture Studio specialises in designing education, government, civic, community and commercial projects. We pride ourselves on being sensitive to the relationship between buildings and their environments. Everyone at SITE understands the culture, climate and topography of Western Australia so we’re able to design spaces to suit local conditions.

What is a highlight of your career?

Winning the National Dulux Emerging Architect Travel Prize in 2009 was definitely a high point for me. The judges selected five standout emerging architects and I was actually the first person from WA to make it into that top five! It was a great honour and the prize involved a trip to London and Paris to visit architecture studios. I really enjoyed seeing how practices, of varying sizes and scales, operated in Europe.

Where do you get your inspiration?

For me, inspiration is drawn from the differing cultural contexts of each project. I always ask myself, ‘what’s here now, what was here before and what is the story/history that shapes this place’? The answers provide my design inspiration. I always aim to capture the spirit of a place in the architecture I create. It’s a lofty ambition but I want my work to transcend bricks and mortar. The best architecture provides an experience for the people who interact with it, whether it’s a home, office or public space.

What’s hot in Architecture this year?

I’m not swayed by trends. However, I see the industrial aesthetic is still very popular. Think pump-house bricks, lots of black, brass, gold and exposed elements. Lately, I’ve also noticed an avoidance of colour. Instead, muted palettes are prioritised. Then, natural materials and finishes are used to provide contrasts —rather than relying on colour and texture to add interest.

What’s your favourite product/finish?

I’m really enjoying exploring all the design possibilities of concrete. It can be textured or patterned but it’s so unforgiving. There’s a real rigour and process that’s required after it has been cast. Concrete is one of those materials that can feel and look light, yet it can also seem solid and heavy. I love it!

When you are not at work, what keeps you busy?

My three kids keep me on my toes but so does renovating our house. I love getting my hands dirty and working out how to put things together. With large-scale architecture projects, it often takes years to see results. But when I’m crafting things by hand, I can see results after just one day. I take lots of satisfaction from small wins!

What do you see for the WA Construction future?

I think prefabrication is on the rise. There’s increasing demand for prefabricated walls, floors and roofs. Thinner, lighter or more efficient products are always popular. Happily, I’m seeing more innovation happening in this space. Perth’s prefabricated modular building providers are evolving their products, which is great to see.

What’s on the horizon for you and your company?

We get bigger and better, year on year. I’m looking forward to tackling more large-scale projects spanning education, government, civic, community and commercial sectors. SITE is fortunate to have a really great team and, thankfully, we have endless energy and creativity.

W: E: P: 08 9226 5661

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