Looking back on 20 Years of POWE Architects designing and delivering buildings in Brisbane, we asked our long-term Associate Director, Matthew Johnson, about his favourite buildings and projects.
Finding the little things that bring me joy
Having spoken for so long about how our business pushes the envelope in using technology to deliver our buildings, it was a real challenge, when asked to nominate my favourite building from the last 20 years. Most of our time on our projects is spent creating virtual buildings. We then spend almost as much time communicating our projects to the craftsmen who turn our visions into built form. We spend little time in comparison, looking back at the finished works to consider their continuing worth.
As architects, we spend hours deliberating over details that make construction easier, or make a building more durable, or improve spatial functionality to allow a building to perform better. However, most of those details never appear to the casual observer once the building is finished. Those aspects of a built project that often bring us the greatest sense of joy are aspects that, to many will remain hidden until long after our authorship is a distant memory.
Likewise, it is often not evident in a finished building the extent to which the process of construction was improved by our use of technology. The contractor may appreciate the lesser degree of rework on our projects due to the higher level of resolution in coordination that we make part of our day-to-day purpose, but you won’t see that hidden behind the pristine ceiling. The client may understand that the approval process was expedited by our ability to communicate with the stakeholders through virtual models and imagery, but the finished development won’t tell you of the multitude of other options that went into arriving at that ultimate solution.
For me therefore, my favourite building from the last 20 years of POWE Architects is one that many might not perceive as our most aesthetic work, or our largest project, or even our most popular building.
It is a carpark, at a hospital, next to a busway, beside one of the busiest roads in Brisbane and it is probably un-noticed by the hundreds-of-thousands of people who pass it each day.
It is my favourite because of the close relationship we had with the construction team. It is my favourite because of the way we used technology to push the engineering harder than had been thought possible. It is my favourite because of the way a building for more than 1300 cars can somehow blend into its surrounds and to be not noticed as you pass it by.
It is my favourite because every time I pass it by, and as no one else turn to look, its little details bring me joy.