Plus Architecture was formed in 1997 as a joint venture between Fender Katsalidis and SJB Architects, to develop the master plan and apartment towers at NewQuay, Docklands. A decade later…Report by Marg Hearn.
May 6th, 2008
“Boutique with grunt” is how Ian Briggs, head of design, Plus Architecture, sums up the relatively small practice with a penchant for large commercial projects in retail, residential, commercial and master planning.
Ten years-on, the staff has grown from four to 40 with design credits encompassing a master plan for Tooronga Village and Bundoora University Hill, golf courses, a continued focus on multi residential apartments – Society, Darling Street, Nott Street, ERA and a diversification into commercial with 9-11 Claremont Street South Yarra.
In a marriage of business outcomes and design integrity, clients work with three directors on each of their projects, – Craig Yelland (bottom line), Ian Briggs (design, pictured above) and Rainer Strunz (delivery). Designs are influenced by their diverse training backgrounds which herald from Queensland, Tasmania and Germany respectively, and so rather than being locked into any particular methodology, “we aim to create architecture that is true to the site our client and ourselves,” says Briggs.
Karl Fender (Fender Katsalidis) and Charles Justin (SJB) continue their interest in Plus Architecture as directors and mentors.
A small office social mentality where everyone knows each other and families are welcome at Friday evening activities, along with a strong investment in training, is reflected in high staff retention rates and a happy work environment.
And while ESD principles are intrinsic to the work of Plus Architecture, it’s not a case of “signposting.” Rather than looking green, a building design “just should be,” emphasises Briggs.
“There’s no windmills on top of our buildings that later get ‘cost managed’, it’s more about getting the fundamentals of facing the building in the right direction.”
The office culture walks the carbon neutral talk – monitors are turned off at night and about one third of the staff ride to work – “think global, act local.”
Below: Plus’ 10 Year anniversary party at the Plus designed Duttons car showroom, Melbourne.
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