WHICH PROJECT MADE YOU HAPPIEST?
The ones where the users bring something new to the project, reinterpret it to use it in an unexpected way.
He is one of 3 Directors at the Sydney based firm JMD Design, with a staff of 25.
Examples of Anton’s projects include Sydney’s Paddington Reservoir Gardens; The Glebe Foreshore Walk; Blaxland Riverside Regional Playspace, Sydney Olympic Park and Centenary Square in; Parramatta.
His unique design language was influenced whilst working for Will Allsop and Kathryn Gusfason in London and Paris which has been further strengthened by his studies in visual arts, and his ongoing public art commissions. He brings an innovative and site- specific approach to his projects.
WHICH ARCHITECT OR PERSON DO YOU ADMIRE AS AN INSPIRATION?
It changes. There are many people who inspire me. As my interests change different people come into focus as other recede.At the moment I am relooking at Johnathan Lasker, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Deacon, and Racheal Whiteread. Will Alsop remains a constant.
WHAT IS THE QUALITY YOU MOST ADMIRE IN A CLIENT?
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST UNDERRATED THING THAT ARCHITECTS DO?
As a Landscape Architect I would have to say the public domain. Too often it is seen as the place to dump more infrastructure, services, cars, plant rooms, and associated problems that were not accommodated and solved in the building or by the engineering.
NAME ONE ARCHITECTURAL DESTINATION THAT NON ARCHITECTS SHOULD SEE?
The ocean rock pools of Sydney built in the early half of the 20th Century. They are quirky in their formation and truly beautiful
TELL US ONE (SECRET) THING ABOUT HOW YOU DESIGN?
I like to draw and paint the ideas over and over again to invite the unforeseen changes.
What inspires you, what gives you inspiration to do better?
The unexpected outcomes that are better that add to the project quality, they come out of the process be it in the drawing/designing phase or at any stage of the project right up to completion.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
Still looking for that.
Working 4 days in the office. I now have a day working in my studio on projects – drawing and painting and through this interesting design solutions and detailing arise.
WE HAVE AN IMAGE OF YOUR PROJECT, ‘PADDINGTON RESERVOIR’. WHAT IS ABOUT THIS PROJECT THAT MAKES IT SPECIAL AND WHAT ARE SOME OF ITS HIDDEN QUALITIES?
This project is very special, there are few examples of heritage industrial fabric remaining in Sydney that so clearly evoke the sense of ruin. The opportunity to make a public garden is rare.
The Reservoir itself provided a rich store of geometry and motif to echo and transform into a new language that could convey some of the mood of the subterranean space dedicated to water. The aim was to focus on the magnitude of the void within the Reservoir’s chambers.
The rectilinear geometry of the structure was adhered to and a garden of differing character inserted in each of the two open chambers. Importantly the gardens are placed centrally away from the sloping walls, the edge is kept free to retain the legibility of the sloping walls and the wedged volume.
Rather than look for the opportunities to make continuity, I prefer to seek out the discontinuities and idiosyncrasies of successive mismatches between structure and function to strengthen the character found in the ruin and the Reservoir. To that extent I have tried to enable and heighten the visitor’s sensibility to the material and mood found on the site prior to its conversion.
For further information on Anton James and his projects, please visit:
Liam is an award-winning architect and designer.
As architects, we believe in the transformative potential of good design.
Kennedy Nolan was established in 1999 and has since developed a reputation as a design focused practice with a distinctive approach to built form.