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Benson McCormack Architects

5 MINS WITH… DAVID BENSON

Since co-founding Benson McCormack Architects, David has immersed himself in a growing number of medium and large-scale residential and corporate developments and master planning major infrastructure projects



BY owen Lynch

April 22nd, 2013


Your top 3 influences.

All the senses, although I’m sure that’s more than 3. 

The moment you knew you wanted to be a designer.
As a kid getting muddy in a local creek with my brothers. I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking at but I definitely liked it. As I was to find out later, studying architecture, it was Harry and Penelope Seidler’s House in Kalang Ave Killara. Australia’s ‘Fallingwater’.

Favourite local landmark/building.
Orange Grove Public School, Lilyfield Sydney.  Not so much a landmark but a weekly meeting place for the local community to share in the rich spoils of a framers market and local gossip. Everything from nuts to nutters.
 
Favourite material.
I love everything that comes from the earth but have a soft spot for terra cotta. A traditional building material still very much relevant today for its inherent environmental qualities but more so I think for its beauty. A local example of a contemporary use of terracotta is Renzo Piano’s beautifully crafted Aurora Place in Sydney’s CBD.
 
Favourite international landmark/building.
La Ramblas in Barcelona. Again perhaps not a landmark but certainly the soul of the city.

Biggest career moment.
Starting Benson McCormack Architects.  I like being accountable and running your own business, there is nowhere to hide. Your conviction is everything.
 
Dream project to work on (real or imaginary).
The Bays Precinct in Sydney. It’s just a drop in the harbour, then again the Opera House wasn’t built in a day.

Dream person to collaborate with.
I think someone outside of my chosen profession of architecture. Perhaps Uma Thurman.
 
Favourite decade of design.
60’s definitely. It’s the decade that we all still talk about and not only for design.
 
Favourite chair.
I have thousands but any one on a plane will do, although technically that’s probably a seat rather than a chair. I have an old captain’s chair in my house that I love looking at but rarely sit in.

#1 concern for the design industry in the coming decade.
That we lose our sense of place, purpose and optimism because it is continually being questioned, governed, litigated, eroded, mass produced and therefore undervalued by a very simplistic, consumerist view of how the world works. That’s a cynical view, but locally we could be doing a lot more to support and encourage our creative industries.

Which items in the workplace can you not live without?
Seriously my lunch, laptop, MP3 player and Simon because he goes to Lattacini’s for coffee.

The most unusual/interesting thing about the way you work.
It’s all about the left side. If that doesn’t work then borrow someone else’s. Design is a collaborative process.

Benson McCormack Architects

bensonmccormack.com

 


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