In Episode 1 of Creating Queensland we interview Peter.J.North an Architect registered in both Queensland and Victoria.
You can listen via iTunes or read the auto transcription of our chat below.
Welcome to the creating Queensland podcast I’m just a Reynolds and today I’m speaking with Peter J North architect Peter is a registered architect in both Queensland and Victoria he’s very passionate about design and an advocate of incorporating vegetation into Urban buildings hi Peter how are you good to talk to you again to actually get started in architecture well I was lucky enough in high school graphics with all my favourite classes and at the high school that I went to we are really forward thinking graphics teacher which who God is using archicad which is a three-dimensional CAD program using architecture and it really started getting me thinking that I wanted to get into designing houses and that lead to applying to architectural getting into it ok so that technology into it but I do know that you’re really into high and housing.
So how did that come about so that came about that I was lucky enough through my architectural cause towards the end of a very good friend of mine and her mother was my boss at a high end homeware store and they needed to do a renovation I think it was in West End to the character area it was an expensive house it needed a very contemporary addition to it and she wanted to go with someone young and forward thinking and I was fortunate enough to get the job but it was almost like a 1 million dollar renovations on a $800,000 house I think my first job I got off the mark I got a lot of trust in you know doing quite an expensive Renovation and it got me into in a love of materials and working with really specific lights with no amazing taste in great outcome in the end ok so you’re working on a budget how old were you at that point that stage 25.
Pretty soon yeah and it’s my first job it was great to start out in the high end and I think then what lead me to my first job is I work for a design and construct firm that specifically worked in high end residential sort of 125 million dollar home so once I got a taste for it I thought I need to know more about the construction site cause a lot of architecture in university they teach you about design it’s good to understand the construction site so I went from that job and then I think from there after I have about 6 years at a construction company then thought I need to understand the world of architectural firm so that’s what I first met you ok so can we go back to the start of how your career actually progress cause I feel like jumping around a little bit so you’ve graduated from university and then I work for a design and construct firm.
Sorry to be confusing there so that was one of those things that that got me into thinking what do I want for my first job so and that’s what I got into the constructive Creative Mind yeah and then after that then went to an architectural firm which had town planning in house where I met you and that I got very interested in town planners and Architects working together and really solving everything in the own you know in 1 firming saw the great advantages of that and was have always been surprised since the amount of architectural firms that don’t do that that could benefit from the integration of the two after in Brisbane and then after that I thought I want to go to the capital of architecture of Australia which is Melbourne a really a place where creative thinking and design is really push to its highest level.
So I was able to get a job there was one of the largest Ikea ad firms in Australia there are international firm and worked on through a very big project Thursday not just high in houses did some word talked about this the other day some different typology is like 4 storey townhouse at the rally 4.5 m wide and youse doing things that in Urban landscape that we don’t do so much in Queensland is really getting people to adjust to walking up and down different levels and condensing the size of a footprint and very popular typology of worked on a very expensive $11000000 Renovation and extension to a church and lot of multi res but no real houses ok so then after that then I wanted to get some more experience in prefabricated and modular housing and the worked for a company that is one of the forefront companies that does that and variance.
Sustainability in integrated vegetation they do green roofs but understanding how you can do off-grid houses and remote location and also did some Early Learning childcare centres and school projects there as well for the Victorian Government do you have a preference well I’m a preference for the future is to work for myself or in collaboration with other Architects ok I think the relationship with the architect and the builder and the client is this perfect triangle and watch got that dynamic going really well that’s what I love and the getting the construction the project management side of it I thinking architectural firms you can give it pigeonholed and do one of your school bases and not all of them and I kinda prefer the smaller scale ok.
If you were to give advice to somebody think about doing architecture or a junior architect looking to find out where they should be headed in their career what sort of advice would you give them well some advice that I would give you definitely have a think about what you know about construction and constructability of architecture that you’re interested in and not necessarily look at it so much aesthetically or style wise or what you’re interested in the way that it looks but gets a really good solid construction background and I’ve always been surprised the amount of people in senior roles in architectural firm have never designed a house themselves and delivered at all the way to the end so I think there’s a really important about having to find it from the brief taking all the way through to key handover to client if you’ve done that as an architect even on a small house.
That’s translatable to any size project it just gets bigger in increments so if you’ve done that then you’ve got a good solid base for any type of architecture as possible at the start and then taking it take a network big work small but then work down the path it suits you the most in the one that you get the most of creativity out of in the most excitement and I think that’s what led me to where I am in my career meditation into design and why that’s important and a second is just the difference between designing and architecture in Melbourne vs Brisbane cause I know you have experience in both and we’ve already touched it been on that so let go back to vegetation is rye so passionate about that very passionate about integration of vegetation in architecture on have a great lover horticulture and of Nate.
Species of plants and trees and just very interested in either with urban consolidation there’s a lot of houses all blocks in a completely filled and the blessings to be a bit of a lack of respect for trees or vegetation or the existing plans on a block and it’s a lot of developers and people see let’s just fill the block with as much as we can then just put small plants in and I think existing trees I’ve put it a number of epo’s on trees that I think a significant I’m sure that developers don’t like that but if you look at the lifespan of some houses or some buildings that might be 20 to 30 years and if you look at it real at the hoop pine it’s life span is 450 years so if you put things in perspective like that it really changes your idea of the importance of trees adventure tatian in our landscape in Urban landscape and I think integrating it into a VR into our buildings the ability to her.
Oxygen producing plants inside outside surrounding on top of up green walls is just a beautiful way of bringing landscape back into the concrete Jungle that we live in Colorado I’ve always had to do it in Nola hi and how’s it that I’ve done that I made sure that they got a really good landscape architect or landscape at that was able to design and integrate but you know I have seen it’s might be controversial but there are some a project of in South Brisbane at the moment that have very large green walls and summer successful depending on where they put them and some on but I seeing a large wall that’s her a small ecosystem in itself and maintained really well is a beautiful thing as an addition to the building just try by the cultural centre yesterday and that.
Be redeveloped all the Hanging Gardens off that have all been growing with new species and just sing it all integrate it is how I feel we need to look at buildings is really it’s easy enough to draw them on our 3D renders I’ve just popping trees on them but I think you really have to think about how we actually integrate them an existing vegetation but the two are just as important as each other ok that’s great hopefully this week and then just moving on to your experience between designing in Brisbane vs Melbourne other things that you think either city do better than the other yeah I know we talked about the other day as well I think the main difference of people probably need to understand if they’re working by state or just in general is the Brisbane City Council is one of the largest city councils play area wise an amount of suburbs where is Melbourne has 28 City councils in its greater Urban area and that just means.
There is different so many different laws so many different little local City Council that have different requirements to height requirements different setbacks and you can be in a really close area and be dealing with different city councils and have to keep up with all the legislation anything that’s changed and I think that one thing that that’s done is Brisbane and we did talk about this that Brisbane does have a Styles fishing Urban style at the moment that it’s got a flavour to it that really does spread across the city and lots of different suburbs where is Melbourne really does seem to have different.
Locations different suburbs and have very different architectural Styles and you know like the Richmond style or more down St Kilda way and I think a lot of that actually comes down to the city council themselves being having different Wars at people need to abide to has really in full it’s the way that I could text and developers have designed to suit those ok that might be a suggestion or something that should be thought about for Brisbane do you like the fact that the same design style or flavour as he say is spread throughout the city or do you like the fact that in Melbourne there are little pockets of different types I could take her I think aesthetically and I could actually I think it’s great that little pockets of different types of architecture but I do think that Brisbane hasn’t better having it as one City Council makes it the better for town planning development applications building approval makes it easier but I think it has worded it down architecture.
So you have these two different things that I think the Brisbane City Council probably works better as one large council but I can see the benefits of what happened to Melbourne in the way that it’s expanded and growing and has the diversity of architectural Styles is in a very small area.
Ok what about designing in Brisbane though I do know that you know if there’s something about hear that you love Nova designing designing in Queensland I think or Brisbane specifically is I think my big passion for the integrated vegetation and you can do a lot more indoor outdoor and really bring the outside inside you can think about in a natural ventilation alot more I think in Melbourne the weather is so a temperamental even even in summer it can change from being foggy in the morning too hot to freezing cold at night or rainy and they always talk about Melbourne being Four Seasons in One Day and I think because Brisbane it’s just a little bit more static in it whether it allows architecture you know rooftop terraces or you know a cafe buildings that have a lot of indoor outdoor laneways they seem to work a lot better.
With the vegetation and with occupying and being in the because the weather doesn’t change too much so you could be sitting outside and not be terrified it within a rainy and any second where is Melbourne does he even in summer at you can be up to over 40 degrees or the next day and go down to 19 it be raining so people can to design things to be a little bit more enclosed rather than here I love that it’s open and you get to be a we spend too much time in offices and inside closed environment I love when you can feel like you’re sitting outside but still being in a building Perth ok so what we have going for a shower some tropical climate and our large City Council yes thank you so much for sharing your story with us today Peter I look forward to catching up with you again soon sounds great thanks Jess