Winter Architecture is a collaborative architecture practice located in Fitzroy and Torquay. Their team of architects and designers have extensive experience in small to large scale residential and commercial projects and offers a diverse team of professionals for each project brief. Their design approach is carefully tailored based on the different needs of each client, site conditions, and the project’s overall feasibility and potential. We took twelve with their director, Jean Graham to get to know more about the team, their work, and how this all came to be.
George Takes Twelve
1. When I was growing up, I wanted to be…
Simply put, I wanted to be an Architect. Before I could read I was drawing plans, making models and sketching perspectives for dream homes on vacant blocks of land scattered around my home.
2. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your company?
Our Architecture aims to provoke honest experiences, as products of our careful and humble approach. We prioritise the thoughtful over the luxurious, crafting detailed simplicity from the complexities that all projects bring.
3. How is your studio structured?
Our studio is structured a little differently to most, with options for flexible and remote working. Whilst most of the team is based in Melbourne, we have team members down the coast and interstate. We have an on-line cloud-based business structure, which is not overly common in Architecture. Most of the team has had a great deal of experience working in big offices, we all enjoyed the scale of the projects and the big teams but struggled with the flexibility and expectations or culture of working hours.
We aim to operate in a manner that facilitative and flexible for each team member, whether that be working from home, in the evenings after kids have gone to sleep, alongside study or interstate/internationally.
Regardless of the scale of the project, we know that we can still live, travel and be inspired alongside our work and the operations of our practice, and we think that our work is better for it, too.
4. What exciting projects (present or past) are you proud as punch about?
We have two very exciting projects soon to start on site. A simple, but highly detailed clifftop beach house on the south coast of NSW. And a series of high-end bathhouse retreats immersed on the East coast of Tasmania. Both projects were done in collaboration with interior designer Rodrigues Design and we can’t wait to see them come to life on their beautiful sites.
5. What’s the most treasured belonging/item in your own home?
My books & musical instruments – I most enjoy the things I interact with. I love the beautiful things too, but the real joy comes from experience.
6. What’s the most impressive party trick you can muster?
For the most part its facilitating connections and bringing people together, this brings me the most joy.
7. Are there any architectural trends you are excited about?
Trends imply impermanence, an irresponsible concept for an Architect and an eventually expensive concept for a client to buy into. We’re most excited about the possibilities and qualities that a site and a client can bring, and how we can translate these into a durable, genuine outcome.
8. Tell us about a project that excited you but you never finished.
We recently submitted an entry into the 2019 NGV Architecture Commission that really excited us. It was a strong amalgamation of the beauty and opportunity of the site at the NGV international, in the Grollo Equiset Gardens, and our personal aspirations for quiet and sanctuary in the urban environment. Unfortunately, we weren’t victorious, but it enabled us to undertake deep conceptual ideas in a context that we know and love.
9. What’s your go-to routine to shake off a busy week?
Torquay office Fridays are a weekly ritual, an early start and a traffic free drive down the coast and a cruisy day in the office and sometimes an end of day swim or surf allow us to tie off the loose ends from the week, and ease into the weekend.
10. You’ve got a week off, where are you going?
Depending on the season. Summer, to the sea. Winter, to the snow. Autumn/ Spring, to the bush.
11. Tell us about your best strategy for those dreaded uninspired moments. What gets you out of slumpville and back climbing the creative pinnacle?
Pens down and explore inspiring buildings, re-visit the ones that we cherish, talk to others and discuss all ideas – good and bad. A coffee and wander around Heide has dug us out of an uninspired rut more than once.
12. Favourite architectural style from a bygone era?
Modernism wins, all things relevant today spur from modernism, over 100 years on. It is our last great style shift.
Meet the Architect Radio
“Winter Architecture” Playlist
“These songs, and artists are the most frequently played in our studio, sometimes over and over again.” – Jean
Let’s have a look at Jean’s fave homewares from Hunting for George.