Philip Stejskal Architecture – Designs To Uplift & Enrich
For over a decade award-winning local architecture firm Philip Stejskal has delivered a diverse range of mainly residential work. His focus: creating clever solutions to spaces that are uplifting and pragmatic to enrich his clients lives.
We chat to Stejskal’s about his recent Mt Hawthorn internal and external renovation project and he shares his design influences.
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How would you best describe your design aesthetic?
Hmmm difficult question.. I do my best not to be dictated by a preconceived aesthetic, rather allow the project to grow from its particular set of conditions. Obviously we all have a lens we look through, which tints even the most honest attempts to defy style and grow a building from the ground up. In my case this lens is a composite of work that I admire, a personal tendency toward pragmatism and probably my love of those honest, innovative structures you see in regional Australia, built by the hands of farmers and Italian immigrants.
The Mt Hawthorn job was a re-fit. Many West Australians shy away from renovating or extending their homes or buying one. What are your thoughts on this venture and what advice can you offer?
Well, for my clients it has generally been a combination of cost and love of a certain place. Stamp duty is a hefty addition to the purchase of a home. By renovating, this is avoided. The idea of up-rooting a family is daunting for many people. Personally I consider renovating the more sustainable option on all three levels – social, environmental and financial.
In your opinion what are the key characteristics that uniquely define an ‘Australian’ designed home?
I think perhaps the answer to that lies in our ability to adapt. We observe something in Europe, America or elsewhere, bring it home and appropriate it to make it work locally. I think this stems from being a migrant nation most recently… a place with anchors to many other places, yet with a substantially different set of environmental parameters. So we have developed the knack for adapting foreign solutions to make them work here. You see this in the rudimentary structures designed by farmers and migrants. You can certainly detect it in contemporary domestic architecture.
Where do you source your creative inspiration?
Aside from inspiration I draw from other architects’ work, I have to say it’s the happenstance, pragmatic, innovating architecture that I’ve mentioned twice above. My parents in law are ex-farmers. I marvel at the things that my father-in-law creates. They are both scary and fascinating.
What have been some of your favourite architectural projects either locally or globally or both in recent years?
I have followed the architecture of Brisbane firm, Owen Vokes and Peters (now Vokes and Peters) for a while now. Their obsession is with the Brisbane suburban vernacular (I think I’ve got that right). It appears they draw inspiration from the specificity of what they observe very locally… the craft and ornament and the physical realities of how those things are made.
On the international scale, Steven Holl continues to be one of my favourite architects. His design methodology is a great fascination for me — it is the rigorous manifestation of an initial idea.. yet he manages to avoid creating theoretical architecture, rather delivers spaces that are completely physical, sensory and human.