Design and Documentation
We start all projects by listening to the client, and to assist clients to express their requirements in a manner that provides a framework for good design. Good design is a response to the client’s needs, and to the environment. Good design is responsive, functional, respectful and enduring. Very occasionally a brief, a site, a budget and client with unending passion will result in truly world class architecture – this is the exception – but good architecture should always be the expectation. We expect to work closely with our clients, through work shopping ideas to materials selections. To help our clients understand projects better we use both computer and traditional modelling and can create photo realistic perspective drawings. When down to the fine details, our clients get to feel door handles, walk on carpets and participate in many other tactile and engaging experiences as part of the design process. Each different audience group has different requirements, and whilst the latest computer technology assists in providing the required material the drawing is only as good as the information contained in it, which is where our experience and the close relationship with our clients becomes vital.
The traditional open tendering model is popular for many projects, and can be tailored where appropriate to narrow the field through use of tools such as selection criteria in addition to cost based analysis. A refinement of the open tender model is the selected tender model, where tenderer’s are pre-selected based on previous demonstrated experience. Fast track projects were popular in the 1990’s but the inherent risks to all parties make project delivery by this method the exception. Construction management contracts have become more popular in recent years, our recent experience the Old Treasury Buildings on St George Terrace is a large and complex example of this method of delivery. Cost plus contracts have to some extent fallen out of favour, but in detailed conservation work where there are expected to be significant discoveries as materials are exposed then this method of delivery can share risk and allow works to progress, albeit with more on site input required to address findings. Whichever method of project delivery is chosen, the selection of the most appropriate contractor for a particular project is paramount to ensure that key deliverables are met to the expected standard.
At Palassis Architects we follow the Australia ICOMOS Burra Charter which guides works to culturally significant places. The first stage in any conservation project is to understand the brief, and the place. Defining the cultural significance of a place guides us to determine the type of works that are appropriate and necessary, understanding the brief allows us to develop outcomes that are suitable for ongoing or new uses. Our experience means that we can recognise issues of construction and material failure and provide solutions that are effective, respectful and compatible to the original fabric to conserve the culturally significant material. We take pride in providing considered solutions and will always seek to explain these solutions in ways that are clear to understand and execute . Whilst heritage work may involve an additional layer of statutory approvals we work closely with the relevant agencies so that they can appreciate the rationale behind proposals, and see that the process of investigation, understanding and developing solutions has been followed diligently.
Conservation Planning and Heritage Advice
When faced with works to a heritage place it is vital to understand the history of that place, and to be able to establish the relevant layers of significance that might exist. With an understanding of a place’s significance then decisions and policies can be made in an informed manner. Statutory authorities work with known parameters, and guess work in heritage matters is not an acceptable approach. Our approach to understanding a place starts with site inspections to gain an overview of the built environment, supported by investigation of documentary sources by us and assisted by specialist historians, and sometimes by other disciplines including archaeologists and heritage engineers. Through understanding, opportunities for complimentary new development are revealed which can be fed in to design projects resulting in very exciting outcomes that were not immediately apparent. At the micro level of detail, our investigations encompass research into material types, decay mechanisms and original finishes. As required we engage specialist sub-consultants to assist in determining composition of traditional materials, from which we develop suitable repair methodologies.