Architect Spotlight – Ben Robertson

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The team at Tecture: (L-R) Brendan Marcello, Ben Robertson, Lauren Foy, and Benjamin Whittaker.

Established in December 2015, Tecture has recently celebrated 3.5 years of practice. Director Ben Robertson created Tecture after years of working in lead Architecture & Interior Design roles with some of Melbourne’s most reputable firms. Tecture has amassed over 120 projects within a short time frame. In addition, the firm has been featured in a multitude of media publications, showcasing their expertise in Interior Design and Architecture.

Tecture has established a strong sense of space and detail, creating finely crafted spaces for living.  With strong communication skills and considerable experience delivering projects within the residential sector, Tecture is known for establishing a strong site specific and bespoke design solutions to suit each clients brief. The holistic and measured approach to design creates spaces that seamlessly integrate the architecture and interiors. Tecture has experience in private residential and boutique multi-residential developments. Each project is crafted specifically in response to the individual site while harnessing the client brief. The result is a timeless design response.

Tecture thrives on meticulous detailing, strong symmetry and alignment, all while ensuring their philosophy of timelessness and holistic design principles are present through clever planning and simplicity. They believe that great design solutions are not necessarily created through expensive materials, but via strong and clever detailing. Tecture’s architecture and interiors blend ideology for fluid integration of design, a direct result of their design philosophies and beliefs.

How would you describe your design philosophy in 3 words?

Refined, simplistic, minimal.

How do you see design improving our quality of life, and how we live, work, consume and connect?

Without a doubt, great design can improve our wellbeing. However, each designer will have a different take on what they perceive to be successful design, just as each end user will experience it differently. The importance to us lies in the psychology of architecture, and ensuring we create those moments with justification and design poise. Improving people’s quality of life is always a must and the backbone of being a great designer, and with technology rapidly shifting, it is important we create spaces that connect the users.

As society enters an unprecedented period of globalization, do you believe that australian designers have a unique aesthetic or attitude?

I do think Australian designers have a unique aesthetic, however at times, Pinterest and Instagram filter our clients and own minds with global images in a way magazines never were able to. Australian design tends to have a sense of whimsy, but we are also restrained by our costs of building and furnishing homes. This requires us to be more sympathetic to clients wish-lists of ‘global inspiration’, but at a local cost. Therefore, being smarter with our budgets and material choices, is definitely present in Australian design.

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TGIPF Townhouses. Photography by Shannon McGrath.

Tell us a project that made you really happy to work on.

If any of the projects we took on didn’t make us happy, then we are in the wrong profession! Sure, we have moments of frustration – we are human- but anything that allows us to begin putting ideas into visions is most likely going to make us happy.

Saying that, we currently have a dwelling under construction in NSW that is a concrete dwelling, which we are thoroughly enjoying seeing it rise from the ground.

How do you see design shaping the world around us?

There are many layers to how great design can and should shape the world. But it doesn’t stop at the micro – a great design on a residential level, will definitely enhance one’s wellbeing. But the design and connection to life on a macro level is just as integral, if not more important. Greater infill solutions, less urban sprawl, and open minded planning objectives shifted to reflect technological changes that are generating an insular society. As designers, we can assist in constructing the narrative, but we need forward thinking councils, developers etc sharing the same vision.

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Ceres Gable House. Photography by Peter Clarke.

For you, what is the most challenging part of the design process and what is the most rewarding?

Challenging: Restraint. On multiple levels. As noted above, Pinterest and Instagram have changed peoples access to design, and TV shows have set unrealistic price tags. Quite a force when merged to a brief.  Our task is to then expose the realism of costs and expectations.

Rewarding: When a client chooses to work with us. We are only 3.5 years old as a company and have been very fortunate to be selected as designers on some amazing work, so the thrill of being able to simply begin the design schematics is very joyful.

If you were given an unrestricted creative brief, what would this look like?

An unrestricted brief could result in absolute chaos and rolls of yellow-trace scrunched on the floor. It is the restrictions that help form the creative process. A budget will drive materiality, context will dictate orientation and siting, and a brief can format function and spatial flow. We find that restrictions challenge us to design with greater optimism.

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Concrete Conceal House. Photography by Shannon McGrath.

At Brickworks, we are devotees to good design. What do you look for in good design?

At Tecture, we design and like to look for the unexpected. Moments that surprise through varying possibilities – volume and scale, function and flexibility, technological and human interfaces. But mostly a holistic sensibility. A feeling that the spaces have been crafted in unison, and not designed as a series of vignettes for photographical means. Furthermore, specifying economical materials and using our design smarts to create a feeling of luxury.

….And finally who are your design heroes?

There are many I admire but not yet had the experience of their spaces, but at the core I have a penchant for modernism – refined, simplistic, minimal.

I am genuinely excited by designers that have tapped into my emotive senses on such a powerful level, and not just the details of architecture. Having visited buildings such as Ronchamp Chapel by Le Corbusier, Falling Water by Frank Lloyd Wright and Farnsworth House by Mies Van der Rohe, I experienced an overwhelming sense of architectural success – the arrival, approach, the architecture, the design, the connection.

There is a whole world of architecture and design that I am yet to explore, here is hoping I get to see more!

Visit their website: Tecture

Follow them on Instagram: @tecture_

Article by brickworksbp

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Architect Spotlight – Ben Robertson

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