Kieran has been an integral part of the WA architecture scene since the late 1990’s, and has established a reputation as a leader in the fields of urban renewal and social and Indigenous housing. Here, he discusses key moments that have shaped his career.
How and when did you realise your passion for design? How did you get your start in the industry?
I’ve actually always wanted to be an architect, which is interesting as no one in my family or inner circle has been in the industry. Growing up I had a real interest in the act of building and design, which has followed me into adulthood. When I met my wife at university we decided to start our own architecture practice, CODA, upon completing our degree.
What was the motivation for starting The Fulcrum.Agency?
Back in the 90s there was a recession so most of our peers moved to the east for work. We were interested in staying in Perth and contributing to the architectural landscape here, which is why we started CODA. 20 years later, we started Fulcrum. Our motivation was thinking about new modes of practice and being more targeted in the way we use our design skills in the communities we work in. It’s all about the process of built forms and creating communities that have better outcomes in the built environment.
How would you describe the ethos of The Fulcrum.Agency?
We’re a creative agency underpinned by a passion of social justice. Our process of design can leverage much stronger outcomes for disadvantaged and marginalized communities across Australia, particularly in remote and regional communities. We are interested in the process of co-production, and the work that happens within these communities when the work is driven by them. We are an advocate in that space for those people.
You have developed a reputation as an authoritative voice on issues surrounding social housing and residential affordability. Can you speak to this?
Emma and I understood the privileged position we had studying architecture in Australia. At CODA, one of our mission statements was to be useful. At Fulcrum we are always looking for ways to amplify that and be more focused thinking about social impact.
When approaching regional or marginalized communities we engender a genuine dialogue so it’s not a top down approach. We attempt to reconstruct our working methodology to involve a two-way exchange of ideas. Architecture provides the skills to critique and understand complex problems in communities and think about how these can be manifest into elegant solutions. There is always room for architectural expertise, but we start from a perspective of trying to learn the language of the community.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of the job is being able to work in various communities across the country. I’ve gotten to see and meet people in lots of different places across Australia, being immersed in the country and landscape, and able to witness the diversity of our community.
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