TELL US ABOUT A PROJECT THAT MADE YOU REALLY HAPPY TO WORK ON.
Annandale House was a project where we could test new ideas and really question the client’s brief and turn into something they had not expected. It was certainly testing at times (as with most projects) but due to the client’s trust and commitment to the design, the outcome was incredible. The clients were really happy. We were really happy.
The practice thrives on challenging projects. Tackling difficult sites, complex briefs and strict planning controls enables them to seek alternative approaches to achieve better outcomes, and in doing so question the status quo. The design process often results in layers of complexity and contradiction but always strives to distill an architecture that is simple, and executed with precision and clarity.
WHICH ARCHITECT(S) WORKING TODAY DO YOU MOST ADMIRE?
David Chipperfield Architects and OFFICE Kirsten Geers David Van Severen.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SIGNATURE STYLE?
I think it is more an approach to the design process rather than a style. We always try to stay open-minded at the commencement of a project which sometimes lead to unexpected outcomes.
NAME ONE ARCHITECTURAL DESTINATION THAT NON ARCHITECTS SHOULD SEE?
I recently visited Fallingwater (Frank Lloyd Wright) with my (non-architect) partner and it really made a deep impression on both of us. I was especially surprised how many non-architects were visiting this house, which is in a relatively remote part of Pennsylvania. It is definitely a destination and cannot be stumbled upon. The house had been kept in immaculate condition with all original furniture, artworks, fixtures and fittings as it was bequeathed by the Kaufman Family.
Who/what has been the biggest influence on your work?
Canberra, where I grew up. Its monumentality set in native bush landscape has always stayed with me. I hope the legacy of Walter Burley and Marion Mahony Griffin’s original garden city concept continues on with Canberra’s future planning.
IS IT MORE REWARDING REWORKING EXISTING SPACES TO SUIT THE CLIENT’S NEEDS, OR DO YOU PREFER DESIGNING SOMETHING FROM SCRATCH?
So far, definitely more rewarding reworking old buildings. The existing parameters set-up interesting constraints. It’s like solving a really complex puzzle.
YOUR RECENT PROJECT, CAMPERDOWN CHILDCARE, ADAPTED AN EXISTING STRUCTURE AND REPURPOSED IT. WHAT SORT OF DESIGN CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE THROUGHOUT THIS PROCESS?
Adaptive reuse is always tricky. An old industrial site is probably not the expected place for a childcare centre, especially where safety and fit for purpose is concerned. The existing building was originally an old dairy warehouse and the client was open to our suggestion of leaving the history of existing brick walls and old steel structure exposed and untouched.
The biggest challenge however was peeling open part of the existing roof to create outdoor play space and resolving the stormwater issues and later on, the unexpected pigeon issues.
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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.