Fringe Architects – Progressive Design
One of the objectives of Fringe Architects is to address a client’s broad sensibilities and an often progressive and evolving brief for the design of their home.
We chat to Andrew Hagemann about his influences and one of Fringe Architects’ latest projects, the Concrete House, that has just landed them in the shortlist for a Houses Award in the category of 2015 New House Over 200m2.
Tell us something about your approach to Architecture, and what generally influences your work?
I’ve been trying to aim for a regionally responsive architecture that aims to express the unique qualities of our climate, building materials, technology and social structures and culture.
I believe there is still much work to be done here to realise this type of architecture on a greater scale. Our practice predominantly deals with residential architecture, but increasingly we are beginning to innovate in these key areas. I recently registered as a Builder so I can see the evolution of the architectural practice into a more universal form of practice that incorporates architecture and building as the core activities.
I guess in terms of influences I most closely align myself with the Architect-Builder Brian Klopper, who had a profound impact on residential architecture in WA, and Architect-Academic Simon Anderson for his key insights into housing typologies and directly-expressed regionally-responsive architecture.
I understand your client was interested in the works of Perth Architect Iwan Iwanoff. What fundamental features of his work where you wanting reference in the Concrete House project?I think our client was trying to do something new. Concrete House sits amongst rows of double-fronted Californian Bungalows in a pretty unremarkable streetscape. So the house had to express this lack of pretentiousness and well as innovate in areas like climate response, social response and create an environment for their young family that could adapt to their needs over the medium to long term. Unlike so much housing in WA we tried to create a house that they actually wanted to live in for a long time, as well as using materials and construction techniques that would last 50-60 years not 5-10. So the Iwanoff link was more in the selection of materials and how they were expressed – hopefully with a bit of sculptural directness that created interesting spaces.
What questions or thoughts should you a potential client consider before meeting with an architect?
It’s pretty simple really – choose your architect based on your ideals and then trust them to deliver – especially if they have a clear built track record.
What do you believe are the advantages for a client when engaging with an architect?
That’s a pretty simple one as well – clearly if you engage a decent architect to design your project, and you back them 100% – you will get something unique.
Tell us about career highlights – experiences or events that stand out for you within your career?
I think moving into private practice in 2005 was a pretty big step, but an important career shift. Ten years on getting the Builders Registration is the second most important career move. More recently I attended the National Architecture Conference ‘Risk’ in Melbourne and brought away with me a renewed sense of possibilities for the practice of architecture. I particularly thought the work of SHOP Architects in New York best epitomised the conference theme, through their clear innovation in the practice of Architecture. It showed me that architects can and should engage more directly with the issues facing practice and not just innovate, but prosper from the activity. Recently being short-listed in the 2015 Houses Awards for Concrete House amongst three Robin Boyd recipients and two Robin Boyd winning judges was a pleasing moment. Ultimately we are aiming to act locally but rate nationally.
Photography: Rob Frith Acorn Photography
Builder – Distinctive Homes WA Pty Ltd
Engineer – McDowall Affleck Consulting Engineers
Landscape – Luke McCarter DIG WA Pty Ltd
Joiners + Cabinetmakers – Lou + Greg Damopoulos
Concrete Blocklayers – Gary Dureau
Roofing – Revolution Roofing