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    Profile: Gerard Smith, building designer

    Geraldine Chua

    Gerard Smith is a designer at Gerard Smith Design (formerly Mojo Design), the firm that won the Design Excellence Award, the highest honour at the 2012 Building Designers Australia Awards for Satori.

    He tells us about how he ended up in building and design, why he loves designing, and even dishes out some advice for emerging designers.

    Tell us a bit more about yourself.

    I grew up in Wollongong and moved to Noosa on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland approximately 12 years ago. At the completion of my studies, I worked in an architectural practice. I then worked in another design practice for several more years before contracting to another designer with whom I eventually formed a partnership by the name of Mojo Design.

    Mojo Design is currently undergoing a name change to Gerard Smith Design. My main role at Gerard Smith Design (formerly Mojo Design) is that of designer. I am also heavily involved in the detailing and documentation of projects, meeting with clients and consultants, and generally overseeing projects from conception through to completion.

    Apart from my work, I enjoy music, surfing and reading when time permits.

    Why Building Design?

    I find builiding design and indeed all design extremely stimulating. The fact that building design provides me with an opportunity to design is the one aspect of why I love my profession. I love the creativity that builiding design allows.

    I view building design as 'real life' tangible sculptures that we have the fortune of being able to walk through, experience, work and live in. What is felt inside these sculptures affects the way we feel and live on a daily basis. Builiding design is a profession that enables the creator to express his/her creativity and to impart upon people a vision and resolution to improving people's lives, both on a private scale and in a public domain. I feel very fortunate to be entrusted by clients to create something that not only serves a specific function, but that is equally beautiful to be in.

    Satori by Gerard Smith Design (formerly Mojo Design)

    What does your standard day involve?

    I am not really sure what a standard day is any more. Some are frantic, others are relaxed, some are purely design orientated, others are spending loads of time on the phone, emailing and in meetings. One thing I do find standard though, is they all seem to pass by very quickly.

    What tools and software did you use for Satori?

    For Satori, I used the software Archicad.

    Did you face any design challenges with the Satori project?  If so, how did you overcome them?

    With the home Satori, the main design challenges were posed by the confines of the existing home that we had to work with and how to best blend the old existing home into the new home design. This challenge was overcome by the rearrangement of existing spaces into new spaces that was conducive to the layout of the new home.

    What is the favourite part of your job?

    Without a doubt, the favourite part of my job is the opportunity to design.

    What is the biggest challenge you face every day?

    The biggest challenge that I face every day is to make the day profitable. A lot of time can be spent on tasks that are not time effective.

    Which project of yours are you most proud of?

    I am proud of all of my projects to date for different reasons. Which I am most proud of is difficult to say. You become attached to all of your projects in various ways.

    Satori, however, is a project that I must concede I am very proud of. I feel that the challenge of successfully transforming the existing house into a new home that compliments and takes full advantage of the beautiful site that it built upon has been achieved. The clients are ecstatic with the result and the fact that a close friendship has developed between my family and the clients' family as a result of Satori is an added bonus. My family’s regular social visits to Satori as a result of this friendship has contributed to the strength of my intimacy with Satori.

    Satori by Gerard Smith Design (formerly Mojo Design)

    Any advice for emerging building designers?

    My advice for emerging building designers and students is to be prepared to work hard. It is a demanding job that in many instances is not as financially rewarding as other professions or occupations. However, if you love your job as I do, then you aren't really working either.

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