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Editor’s Corner with Tina Engelen

Editor’s Corner is a Brickwork’s video series curating conversations between designers, architects, creatives and Australia’s top magazine editors. In the latest episode, Eliza O’Hare, the Editor-In-Chief of Inside Out Magazine, sits down with Tina Engelen, Designer and Co-Principal at Co-Ap to discuss the ways in which sustainability is at the core of architecture and design, and how it ultimately informs the human experience.
Projects
Balmain Semi, Moreton Manor, Woollahra Courtyard House
Designer
CO-AP
Photography
Murray Fredericks, Ross Honeysett, Ross Honeysett
POSTED
16.03.2022

Travelling internationally regularly with her family throughout her childhood, Tina Engelen was introduced to a wide range of architectural styles from a young age. Supported by a family passionate about interiors, with both parents importing architectural design products for their business dedece, Tina went on to study Interior Design at Sydney College of the Arts. From there she became a Features Editor at Interior Design & Architecture Magazine. Tina then went on to become a Designer and Co-Principal at Co-Ap in 2007. 

Placing emphasis on the relationship between light and space, Tina’s work is fluid, functional and aims to harness the rhythms of nature. In her chat with Eliza, Tina highlights the important role a home plays in one’s childhood; ‘Children grow up there and their first experiences of the world are often within the home,’ she says, ‘so homes that are insulated, that breathe, stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, create a foundation that they can take forward for the rest of their lives. It’s the substance behind the style that matters.’ This mindset is represented in Tina’s work through her material choices, floorplans and Passive Heating and Cooling approach, which includes strategically placed windows that maximise natural light and encourage natural heating in the colder months. Not only do these elements create a harmonious and more sustainable home, but they also reduce energy costs, both financially and environmentally. 

Connecting through the shared experience of being moved by a building, Eliza and Tina reflect on the buildings that feel emotionally drawn to. The iconic Sydney Opera House, Colin Madigan’s Dee Why Library and Ken Woolley’s Pettit and Sevitt display homes are Tina’s top picks, noting that they all individually informed her childhood. ‘All three of them are full of ramps, incredibly proportioned steps, mezzanines and skylights, light and shade,’ Tina says, ‘They were buildings to explore and buildings that we had fun in. That I think, grew a very early passion for three-dimensional space.’

Designing her own home allowed Tina to create the perfect space for her and her family. A development by Engelen Moore, Tina’s three-bedroom apartment was built 20 years ago. She describes it as ‘intimate’, saying ‘it’s been (a home) made with many memories … I have loved watching it gain its patina.’ Focussed on sustainable and solid materiality, Tina’s home was inspired by Harry Seidler’s work, an Austrian-born Australian architect whose projects incorporated strong elements of modernism. Tina says ‘I still find the lines really appealing for my eye, I still find pleasure in the light, shade and shadows across the walls; it’s a little bit zen’. When asked what she would change about the time spent in her home she says simply, ‘I would just slow down the clock … I would just have it three times over; I’d have it all again.’ 

To watch this week’s episode of Editor’s Corner with Tina Engelen, click here.

“I still find the lines really appealing for my eye, I still find pleasure in the light, shade and shadows across the walls; it’s a little bit zen.”

Tina Engelen
Co-Principal at Co-Ap Architects
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“I still find the lines really appealing for my eye, I still find pleasure in the light, shade and shadows across the walls; it’s a little bit zen.”

Tina Engelen
Co-Principal at Co-Ap Architects
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