Ar­chi­tec­ture nour­ishes peo­ple’s lives

Australasian Timber - - AUSTRALIAN TIMBER DESIGN AWARDS - 2015 Aus­tralian Tim­ber De­sign In­te­rior Fitout Res­i­den­tial Award win­ner and shortlisted in the Tim­ber Ve­neer cat­e­gory for Bed­fordale House.

Suzanne Hunt Ar­chi­tect

ES­TAB­LISHED IN Perth in 2004 Suzanne Hunt Ar­chi­tect is a bou­tique ar­chi­tec­tural and in­te­rior de­sign prac­tice spe­cial­is­ing in con­tem­po­rary high end res­i­den­tial ar­chi­tec­ture and in­te­rior her­itage and hos­pi­tal­ity projects. “We have com­pleted work in the Perth Metropoli­tan area, and coun­try WA, and we are cur­rently work­ing with a client in NSW as well,” says Suzie.

“My ethos for the prac­tice is that great ar­chi­tec­ture nour­ishes peo­ple’s lives not only phys­i­cally but spir­i­tu­ally and emo­tion­ally. I want the houses we de­sign to ex­press har­mony warmth and a calm sim­plic­ity. This is very im­por­tant to me.

“Along with my prac­tice com­mit­ments I have also sat on The Her­itage Coun­cil’s De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee, and was Her­itage Ad­vi­sor to the De­part­ment of Jus­tice (Pris­ons), City of Su­bi­aco and Town of Cottes­loe. Cur­rently I sit on the Rot­tnest Is­land Board, the AIA Chap­ter Coun­cil and the City of Melville’s Ar­chi­tec­tural and Ur­ban De­sign Ad­vi­sory Panel

Suzie’s ar­chi­tec­tural ca­reer has been var­ied “which is ex­actly how I like it”.

After grad­u­at­ing with Hon­ours from Curtin Univer­sity in 1986 she worked in Lon­don as a De­sign Ar­chi­tect for four years be­fore head­ing back to Perth in 1991.

Work­ing for the State Gov­ern­ment agency BMW Suzie was a Pro­ject Ar­chi­tect on a num­ber of her­itage projects in par­tic­u­lar the Fre­man­tle Prison and for a time was sec­onded to the De­part­ment of Jus­tice tour­ing Aus­tralia look­ing at court house lock ups.

She left gov­ern­ment in 1996 to have the first of her four chil­dren. Suzie con­tin­ued work­ing on small projects from home and in 1999 with her then part­ner, es­tab­lished Wilson Hunt De­sign Con­sul­tants. “We spe­cialised in hos­pi­tal­ity com­plet­ing a num­ber of award win­ning projects.

“I reg­is­tered in the UK in 1989 and in WA in 1994.” Suzie was re­cently made a Fel­low of the In­sti­tute of Ar­chi­tects -one of only six fe­male ar­chi­tects.

The first clients of Suzanne Hunt Ar­chi­tect were Tri­cia and De­nis Hor­gan, own­ers of Leeuwin Es­tate Win­ery in Mar­garet River. “They are now my friends and big­gest cheer­lead­ers. I of­ten send po­ten­tial clients to visit their home and after a beau­ti­ful glass of Leeuwin Chardon­nay with De­nis and Tri­cia they are won over….hope­fully they like the ar­chi­tec­ture as well! The prac­tice con­tin­ues to work with the fam­ily. I feel very lucky to have De­nis and Tri­cia as sup­port­ers,” says Suzie with pride.

“I started SHA with one staff mem­ber, my col­league now As­so­ciate Cather­ine Lee with whom I had worked with in my pre­vi­ous prac­tice. We both had small chil­dren aged 2 to 7 and I was re­cently di­vorced so we worked from my loft bed­room part time around day care hours and school hol­i­days. It was tough but we never lost our en­thu­si­asm for great de­sign and our sense of hu­mour.

“I feel very priv­i­leged to have had a col­league and friend who I to­tally trust and is an equal and in­te­gral mem­ber of the lead­er­ship team. In the last 12 years we have grown the

busi­ness while al­ways main­tain­ing the prac­tice’s ethos of great de­sign, ac­tively try­ing to main­tain a work life bal­ance whilst en­joy­ing our­selves,” she says.

The prac­tice now num­bers seven with a com­bi­na­tion of full and part time ar­chi­tects, grad­u­ates and in­te­rior de­sign­ers.

“I am very care­ful about not tak­ing on too much work en­sur­ing that our clients have the per­son­alised at­ten­tion that we prom­ise. We have re­cently moved into a new of­fice in Ned­lands which we re­fur­bished and share with an­other ar­chi­tect. Sit­ting in our very cool of­fice filled with plants and retro fur­ni­ture Cat and I feel like we have fi­nally grown up…a bit like our kids now feel as they leave school!”

When asked about the prac­tice con­cen­trat­ing on tim­ber use, Suzie’s re­ply was ... “I love hon­est, ro­bust and earth ma­te­ri­als, beau­ti­ful de­tail­ing and cre­at­ing a feel­ing of sen­su­al­ity and el­e­gance. I want our homes to seam­lessly fit into the land­scape and suit our cli­mate so tim­ber is pretty much a sta­ple in­gre­di­ent for all our projects. We are con­tin­u­ally look­ing for new tim­ber prod­ucts that are both sus­tain­able and beau­ti­ful and cre­at­ing new op­por­tu­ni­ties to use them. We are also so lucky to have bril­liant ex­per­tise in Perth with our joiner Ab­bot­so­lutely Tim­bers and our main tim­ber sup­plier Aus­tim in our of­fice pretty much ev­ery week!”

Which brings us to the brief for the 2015 award win­ning Bed­fordale House In­te­rior Fitout ...

“We wanted to cre­ate a home that would be suit­able for this time in our lives, but also one we could live in for­ever. It needed to be tran­quil, feel spa­cious and beau­ti­ful but most im­por­tantly we wanted a com­fort­able home.” That was how a Bed­fordale House Client dis­cussed their brief.

“Seren­ity, tran­quil­lity, sus­tain­abil­ity, flex­i­bil­ity and a dy­namic con­nec­tion with con­text were the key de­sign driv­ers for our en­gaged, re­tired clients. Lo­cated in the Perth hills, Bed­fordale House is our client’s sanc­tu­ary re­flect­ing their love of Ja­panese aes­thet­ics, ro­bust ma­te­ri­al­ity and na­ture. The el­e­gance and scale of the sin­gle level pavil­ions with un­clut­tered in­te­ri­ors and min­i­mal fur­nish­ings con­vey a sense of calm, a re­treat from the world’s de­mands al­low­ing the build­ings bones, the in­te­rior ar­chi­tec­ture to be­come the dec­o­ra­tion.”

The in­te­rior de­sign, in­te­gral to the con­nec­tion with na­ture, is re­flected in the ro­bust, durable and hon­est ma­te­ri­al­ity se­lec­tions of lo­cal basalt, rammed earth, solid tim­ber, tim­ber ve­neer and earth-toned traver­tine. Na­ture is en­cour­aged to gently en­ter and re­treat as pav­il­ion’s open up trans­form­ing ex­te­rior spa­ces into ‘roof­less rooms’. Gar­dens at the edge of rooms draw the eye out­ward and re­flected light from ponds bounce off ex­posed tim­ber ceil­ings and traver­tine floors, cre­at­ing a sub­tle warm hue. Frame­less tim­ber win­dows cap­ture views of the val­ley like art-pieces.

Tra­di­tional sep­a­ra­tion of in­ter­nal spa­ces is re­placed by de­signed tim­ber cab­i­netry, slid­ing shoji screen walls and de­tailed tim­ber ceil­ings. This very per­sonal house has been de­signed with flex­i­bil­ity to en­able it to tran­si­tion with the own­ers now in their late 60’s. Ul­ti­mately Bed­fordale House “touches the earth lightly” on many lev­els”.

SHA were ab­so­lutely thrilled to win the 2015 Tim­ber De­sign In­te­rior Fitout - Res­i­den­tial Award and be shortlisted in the Tim­ber Ve­neer cat­e­gory for Bed­fordale House.

“This pro­ject has won a num­ber of awards, how­ever, per­son­ally, this was the most im­por­tant as tim­ber was an in­te­gral part of the de­sign and the award recog­nised the level of de­tail of de­sign we ac­com­plished with our builders. We had a ball at the awards event and were lucky enough to be sit­ting with the spon­sor of our awards Hur­ford Tim­ber.”

Suzie said the awards were a won­der­ful ac­knowl­edge­ment to the team and pro­vided a sense of achieve­ment and en­cour­age­ment.

“We have new and ex­cit­ing work on the board in a tough mar­ket so I be­lieve the Tim­ber De­sign Award ex­panded our reach and helped grow our busi­ness.

“In the long term, I hope as a busi­ness we have the op­por­tu­nity to con­tinue work­ing with amaz­ing peo­ple and cre­at­ing beau­ti­ful work,” said Suzie.

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