SA Business of Design Lunch recap

14 September 2022

The SA Committee was delighted to host the fourth annual Business of Design lunch on 18 August with guest speakers Lindsay and Kerry Clare. Several attendees share their reflections here.

The SA committee’s fourth annual Business of Design lunch kept to the pattern of previous years – an attentive crowd, speakers who discussed architectural practice and their business rather than design, and a view of the South Parklands in the pouring rain.

Lindsay and Kerry Clare came from the sunny Gold Coast to talk about their careers, which seemed to neatly divide into decades, from small practice to the NSW Government Architects Office, to Architectus and then back to just the two of them.  Their underlying principles shone through and generated many questions and a lively discussion.

Our SA committee members and sponsor have offered their reflections on the presentation:

Justin Cucchiarelli from Studio Nine Architects says, “The Clares’ formative years under Gabriel Poole gave them strong principles and beliefs around design and how buildings should function in their environment. Their design principles have remained, and this has not been affected by size of practice/size of project. Airflow and sun path diagrams are still on the majority of their drawings, showing the importance they place on passive design principles.”

Kirsty Hewitt from KHAB Architects says, “With a joint career spanning many practice sizes and models, a strong and shared value system has anchored all of Lindsay and Kerry Clare’s decisions. Their value system prioritises an absolute commitment to high quality design that carefully considers the users of their buildings, and rigorously responds to site and climate. Their business is design.”

Anna Roussos, Roussos Recruitment and ACA SA Sponsor for 2022 posed the question, “If I were a graduate in the architecture industry, am I better to go to a large or small studio?” Lindsay and Kerry expressed the importance of getting a range of exposure in the early years, and with this, smaller may be better so that graduates can gain experience and insight into all aspects of a project. With this, site exposure was also mentioned as a key defining point within the early years of someone’s career in architecture.

David Kilpatrick noted some of Lindsay and Kerry’s words about the challenge and responsibility of the architect: “Our role is to improve people’s lives – what better motivation and design driver to start from!” He noted the emphasis on working with the client in the earliest stages before design work starts to get the concept right, because “If the planning concept is wrong, it’s always wrong”. They noted that “Our responsibility is to the community rather than to business success”. In working for corporates or government, are we “putting the end user first” in design decisions?

A final note was that they do all their design work to scale on A3 paper: “farewell to the ‘paperless office’. Welcome back A3!”

Photos: Bash Dissanayaka