The importance of architecture
How much time do you spend inside or around buildings?
Lots, which is why architecture is so important!
Architecture means something different to everybody. It's a complex thing, and something you definitely can't sum up in a single paragraph!
In our practice, we define architecture as the art of shaping a users' experience of buildings.
Invariably, the goal is to make the design, building and living experience as great as possible. To make buildings suited to the people and place they are design for - to make them functional and work, and be memorable and uplifting at the same time.
Great buildings are created from ideas that stem from a thorough knowledge of the context that they are sited in, the needs they are required to fill and the materials and technologies that they embody. They should respond to and preferably exceed client expectations and be worthy of their cost. They should be intuitive to use, be comfortable to occupy, be cool in summer and warm in winter. The should be optimally sited to take advantage of solar access and work with prevailing wind conditions. They should be built with a material fabric that is thermally efficient and suited to the regional climate, and look amazing no matter how much time goes by.
If architecture is created from the right ideas, then those ideas and the meaning they yield can help create a permanent conversation in the community. It can get people talking and thinking. It sparks curiosity, causes people to pause as they walk or take super slow drive bys. It can create new benchmarks, embody high levels of craftsmanship and pride amongst tradespeople, push boundaries, and inspire others to embark on new projects that are even more ambitious and focussed on great user experiences. In this world where we are spending more and more time indoors, using our buildings to provide shelter from pandemic outbreaks, their quality is more important than ever. And if there is one thing we are certain of, the design quality in architecture helps make the experience of buildings great.
Why hire an architect?
Take a moment to think about your building project...
It's most likely going to be one of the largest financial commitments and investments you make.
It doesn't matter if its a renovation, or a new build. It doesn't matter if the budget is tight, or the functional requirements are basic or even conflicting.
Architects excel in designing themselves out of problems. That what we do for a living. The more unusual the scenario is, or significant the outcome needs to be, the more an architect can research and find a solution that works.
If the project is important to you, an architect will communicate that importance to others and produce drawings, documents and specifications that help to eliminate confusion and create the clarity and confidence needed to undertake building work.
It's all about the planning!
What architects do
Architects in Australia are committed to learning about design and construction for over 5 years before being able to practice in the community. An even longer period of practical experience, at executive level, is required before they can register with the Board of Architects in their State and legally call themselves an Architect.
From the time spent studying the profession and gaining practical experience comes a thorough understanding of design theory and thinking, with hands on training in topics such as architectural history, structural systems, environmental factors that shape a building like siting and thermal properties of materials, construction methods, approaches to building procurement, technologies, graphics, detailing, specifications...
Registered Architect's are bound by the Architect's Act in their state of registration and by a strict code of conduct. This code of conduct is pivotal in regulating competency, ethics and standards in the profession for the benefit of the general public.
The end result is that Architect's are trained and capable of designing buildings of any scale. From a bathroom or kitchen renovation, a house to a multi-storeyed building, to a hospital, stadium or city master planning. Architect's constantly work from the macro to the micro and back again.
This means it's not just the outside appearance or style of the building structure, but the ideas, experience, livability and life cycle of the building. The interior of a building or project is just as important as it's outside appearance. An Architect will often detail furniture and joinery design, for the most holistic experience.
An Architect's skill contributes to projects in ways that often exceed client expectations and inspire others. Architecture practices that win Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) awards have been through a rigorous process of peer assessment for their work and the awards process helps to raise the public awareness of architecture and its importance in the community at large. Built work is photographed by professional photographers, and promoted through media as a work of art that establishes new benchmarks for design quality and craftsmanship.
B.ARCH Hons, RAIA
2020 Regional Chair, RAIA Gold Coast Chapter
2020 Chair Gold Coast Open House
Graduating with first class honors from UNSW in 2001, Pia has worked in various medium size Architecture offices both in Sydney and on the Gold Coast. Founding Willemsen Architecture with her husband Richie in 2008, Pia takes an analytical design role from sketch design to construction documentation. Pia's focus in the practice is in detail specification & documentation that is integral to the success and completion of projects. Product knowledge and material specification are another of Pia's strengths that add significant depth and continuity to the theoretical premise of Willemsen Architecture's practice. Client relationships are a priority for Pia and from brief to completion she is a vital contact to both facilitate and expedite the design process on many levels.
B.ARCH Hons, RAIA
Director Willemsen Architecture
Originally from Canberra, Richie attended university at UNSW and gained a Bachelor of Architecture with honours in 2000.
With practical experience working on residential and commercial projects in NSW, Richie moved to the Gold Coast to join his family development company, Willemsen Group.
During this time Richie had the opportunity to work on projects including a hotel, 2 office buildings, 10 resort style homes and a 32 storey high rise, often under limited supervision with high levels of responsibility.
Having exposure to new development projects from the inception to final sales, Richie started Willemsen Architecture with Pia in 2008 to focus on working privately for clients and on his own projects.
Richie is involved in all aspects of the practice, but particularly enjoys detail design, documentation and project management.
With a shared passion for technology and architecture, Richie has also undertaken training in the School of Information Systems in UNSW, and actively develops data driven software applications, and is a certified Dynalite system designer, programmer and commissioning engineer.