Architecture Awards 2022

Architecture Awards 2022 BUILD 9 everyone agrees that suburban sprawl needs to be reduced and that we should be building more densely, but as soon as you propose density you are met with loud opposition.” This is where the team has seen the unexpected benefit of the post-covid way of doing things. Previously, there would have been community meetings, typically gathering residents that have set aside their typical evening routine to come to a community hall and speak in opposition to the project. In general, people who are in favour (or at least not opposed) of a project will not go out of their way to sit in a room and speak up against angry neighbours, so the entire conversation can take a very negative tone even though it is not actually reflective of the opinion of the community at large. With virtual meetings, people are able to join without leaving home and there has been a lot more positive comments about proposed projects now… at least in the chat section! So, how does Project1 approach working on a project in the first place? Ryan tells us, “Understanding the goals and objectives of the client is always the first step. We are design professionals, and we are adeptly skilled at crafting architecture and interiors, but we are in the service industry. We begin by working with our clients to understand what their broad goals are, size of building, number of residential units, etcetera. From there, we look closely at the subject site to understand the existing conditions and the current urban fabric. If we are designing a high-rise building surrounded by low-rise buildings, our approach to design is substantially different than if this highrise was surrounded by similar density.” He continues, “Then, we work on understanding the identity of the site, understanding what influences there might be, either from historical uses of the site in the past; perhaps there are unique view opportunities, or perhaps this project is the last piece in the puzzle, and is meant to be quieter and integrate with the neighbouring buildings. The key is understanding the site, understanding the neighbourhood, and then taking a position with the design of the building. If the position we are taking is that the building needs to be muted architecturally, that is a decision we are making. Taking a position on design doesn’t have to mean doing something loud, attention seeking, or creating a landmark building. What is required is being invested enough in what you are doing that you form an opinion from which to start.” Overall, it is crucial to create value for clients that they won’t find elsewhere. For its developer clients, Project1 shows them that it understands their needs. Ryan says, “We know that they need to see the development potential of a site, that the financial model of the project needs to work, and at the same time we need to design a building that will facilitate approvals. While we’ll never get the approval of everyone on a contentious file, having a beautiful building that gives something back to the community often makes the approvals process much smoother.” The studio also places huge value in assessing its workflow and internal practices in the office. Ryan states, “We have a saying here that if we’re doing things the same way now as we did them five years ago, we’re doing something wrong. There are always new tools being developed and we are big believers in streamlining our process and constantly finding ways to improve. I think this is something our clients notice and something they appreciate.” He goes on to say, “We don’t strive to be included in lists (‘best this’, ‘fastest growing that’), we don’t see why that should matter. Instead, we spend our time being as educated and current as possible on the areas that we encounter regularly in this incredibly complex industry that we are fortunate to be part of. Knowledge and passion are powerful differentiators.” And now, the Project1 team is in a fortunate position to be building a reputation as a thought leader in the industry, which is giving them exposure to some very interesting projects. Ryan says, “We love cities, and mixed-use buildings are a key component to active neighbourhoods, so we will continue to specialise in this market sector in the future.” Company: Project1 Studio Contact: Ryan Koolwine Website: