One of the first things we do when designing a new building is a comprehensive analysis of the site and its immediate and broad context. This informs not only the practical considerations, such as passive solar heating or cross-ventilation, but also the most appropriate design language.
We don’t design self-centred monuments to ourselves or our clients, meant to impress and impose on the neighbourhoods, but rather well considered, elegant and naturally beautiful structures that enhance the preexisting character and spirit of each place, the genius loci.
After all, it is the ages of continuity and relative uniformity of architectural styles, rooted in local cultures and materials, that draw tourists to old European towns – and never to the typical Australian suburbs, where careless ugliness and visual chaos abounds.
Complementary architecture improves the value and character of not only its own site but the whole town and region.
Before you design, look at the street, the town and the region and pick the buildings that best respond to and improve their context. Those are the ones worth respecting and continuing from. Most, but not all, will be 100 or more years old. They have been preserved to this day because of their proven practicality and transcending beauty.