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Good design starts at the very ending

The starting point for any building design project is at the ending. What does that mean?

Understanding the client’s desired outcome, including who will be using the space and how they will access it, are vital considerations in any building design.

In Australia and overseas, we’re seeing many examples of buildings being utilised for shared or mixed purposes, such as education, child care and aged care, community programs, as well co-working spaces and offices. Existing buildings are also being re-purposed for other uses. This presents additional challenges, mainly because the users are many and varied, so the spaces need to be dynamic and flexible.

Creating vibrant community spaces where people come together to learn, share ideas or access services is the ultimate reward for architects. A fantastic example is the project we completed a few years ago for not-for-profit organisation genU (formerly Karingal).

The project transformed an existing warehouse into a new state-of-the-art workplace, education and training facility. It expanded and improved the existing packing facility and incorporated a training centre, commercial kitchen, café, administration headquarters, warehouse and commercial laundry.

The existing buildings were repurposed and converted to allow full accessibility for people of all abilities who could receive training on site and integrate into the workforce.

Understanding the complex requirements of people of all abilities enabled us to work with genU to create a unique design that was also accessible and enhanced productivity.

Whether we’re remodelling an existing space or a new build, we apply the same design thinking to all our projects. We always start by asking our client what is the desired outcome. Sometimes the answer is not immediately clear, but working together can help tease out the possibilities.

Another example is the recent project for Give Where You Live Foundation, which involved the renovation of an existing outdated office building to provide a new headquarters and co-working space.

We started work with Give Where You Live early in the project, prior to the foundation purchasing the site. We explored a wide variety of planning options, looking at how they would operate in the new space and all the opportunities it would offer.

The project is now complete the client could not be happier. Apart from being a fantastic functional space, the building also showcases a great design aesthetic.

The success of this project can largely be attributed to being involved very early on and looking at the big picture – the desired outcome – right from the very beginning.

See more of our community projects here.

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