Rob Brown Brickworks Architect Spotlight
Architecture, Articles

Architect Spotlight: Rob Brown

Rob Brown is one of the founding partners and senior architects at Casey Brown Architecture. In our conversation with Rob, he shares his passion for design and collaboration.
POSTED
22.03.2021

How and when did you realize your passion for design and architecture? How did you get your start in the industry?

I always wanted to be an architect from day one. As a kid I didn’t really know what it was, but I always knew that being an architect was my goal. After I finished school I went on to study architecture at UNSW. During my course I worked with architect Clive Lucas on a number of historical buildings, including the renowned Elizabeth Bay house. 

As I graduated from university I was offered a scholarship to England: where I completed some of my hardest and most rewarding work. The projects included working on historic building sites in England, from repairing stone on Westminster Cathedral to thatching roofs on a medieval barn in Cornwall, where I met many owners, architects and tradesmen.

I decided after my scholarship to return home to Australia and I was able to get a job in government advising Bob Carr in helping to protect and save historical buildings. After several years working and advising alongside other architects, at 26 I made the decision to start my own business known as Casey Brown Architecture.

What was the motivation for starting Casey Brown Architecture?

I always wanted to work for myself but knew it was important to have experience prior to opening my own firm. Since opening and landing our first project in 1991, I haven’t looked back. During the recession in 1992 I decided to go to New York where I completed my Master’s in Advanced Architectural Design at Columbia. Within this course I began to understand the importance of balance between historic and contemporary architecture which is apparent in the work we do at Casey Brown Architecture today.

Over the last 29 years at Casey Brown Architecture, we have grown our design portfolio to around 150 houses across Australia. Casey Brown was born out of the passion to create spaces that are different and unique, yet sensitive to the environment and the Australian lifestyle.

How would you describe the design ethos of Casey Brown architecture?

The ethos of Casey Brown all starts with layers of ideas. Our ethos stretches back to my work on historic buildings and assessing the materials of what is made to last and what does not. At Casey Brown we take something that is pre-existing and overlay this with a contemporary approach.

At Casey Brown Architecture we are conscious about creating intriguing blends of the old and new, all while creating architecture that is grounded in the past but relevant to today. When designing a new project it must be appropriate to the client and site, all while incorporating a rich material palette.

Did you ever expect to see the success that you have had?

Hard work and improvement combined with some wonderful clients and a great team and teaching;I believe is the right for success in architecture. And our hard work has paid off. The wonderful thing about architecture is the success is all in the projects and the joy clients get from it.

Has COVID-19 impacted the way you design and work?

At Casey Brown Architecture we are a collaborative practice and COVID has definitely changed the dynamic of how we work. Since the middle of 2020 we have been working from home which has been great for productivity with less commuting to our city offices every day. However, COVID has shifted where our projects are now based. People are spending a lot more time at home, and if they can live in a fantastic place then they can operate from that place. We have seen a trend where a lot of people are leaving the city and are moving to the country. While COVID has impacted to a degree how we operate, it’s been nice to design and build in the country and bush, as the environment is so much stronger in these places.

What is the best part of your job?

I love that architecture always brings with it a constant refresh including new challenges and new clients. One of the best parts is seeing the process from an idea to standing inside that idea in reality. Every project brings with it new opportunities to relive the design experience in a completely different way.

“Over the last 29 years at Casey Brown Architecture, we have grown our design portfolio to around 150 houses across Australia. Casey Brown was born out of the passion to create spaces that are different and unique, yet sensitive to the environment and the Australian lifestyle’”

Rob Brown
Marine Pde. North Avalon

“Over the last 29 years at Casey Brown Architecture, we have grown our design portfolio to around 150 houses across Australia. Casey Brown was born out of the passion to create spaces that are different and unique, yet sensitive to the environment and the Australian lifestyle’”

Rob Brown
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