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    Greater breadth and depth of knowledge makes for better architects: Serdar Baycan, Tectura [PROFILE]

    Geraldine Chua

    Tectura is a multi-disciplined architectural practice in Melbourne that was established in 1991 by Serdar Baycan. As the firm’s founding director, Serdar provides design leadership to the practice.

    With 25 years of experience off his back, Baycan is interested in design innovation in the built form utilising sustainable design principle, and seeks to further the quality and care of the environment whilst creating better places for local communities.

    Other professional affiliations of his includes a directorship with the Board of Austin Health and Chair of the West Gate Bridge Memorial Park Association, which established a memorial park at the site of Victoria’s worst industrial accident, the collapse of the West Gate Bridge.

    In 2000, he was awarded a Centenary Medal by the Federal Australian Government for services to architecture, in particular, for the design and delivery of major capital works projects.

    Baycan is also currently the Project Convenor of the Australian Turkish Friendship Memorial Sculpture, which will be established in The Domain to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings in 2015 and peace and friendship between Australia and Turkey.

    Wantirna Health by Tectura. Image: tectura.com.au

    Tell us about yourself.

    I was always interested in art, physics, mathematics and history, which combined to promote my passion for architecture.

    Early in my career I worked as a project architect for several commercial firms in Melbourne and travelled extensively. Those early years provided me with experience in the architectural process, office systems and the management of large and small projects and by 1991 I was ready to establish my own firm, Tectura Architects.

    Inspiration for my architectural projects is drawn from my understanding of the human condition in the natural world. My desire is for people who use the buildings I design to feel ‘uplifted’ in some way – sheltered, safer, and optimistic, through the use of natural light and proportion. It was natural therefore that the areas I would practise would include public buildings such as community, health, aged care, arts and science buildings designed with sustainability principles.  

    Why architecture?

    Architecture encapsulates most of my interests within the one profession. As an architect, your knowledge base needs to be extensive, detailed and reflective on many different topics and areas. We really are specialist generalists. We need to understand physics, mathematics, material science, design and aesthetics, sociology, history, politics, industry and business, to name a few. The greater breadth and depth of your knowledge, the better architect you will be in implementing ones design ideas.  

    Brimbank Harvester Library, Sunshine, Melbourne by Tectura. Image: tectura.com.au

    What does your standard day involve?

    My day usually involves managing all facets of the business, including meeting with current and prospective clients, consultants and other project stakeholders. I relish the early stages of a project where discussion ensues and I make time to reflect, create and design, as the unknown potentials and possibilities of a project are there to be uncovered and explored.

    What is the biggest challenge you face every day?

    The greatest challenge is trying to find more hours in the day! That’s why it’s important to have a supportive team and framework, including good systems, in place.

    What is the favourite part of your job?

    My favourite part of what I do is the physical realisation of the design of each project because architecture is tangible. Knowing that people are enjoying using the buildings that I’ve created is very rewarding.

    Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE, Preston Campus by Tectura Architects. Image: Martin Saunders

    What tools and software did you use for the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE-New Building F, Preston Campus?

    NMIT used a combination of software programs to aid the realisation of the design and documentation of the project. These involved AutoCAD, 3D modelling software, rendering programs and software used to optimise the low carbon footprint (ESD) features and strategies of the design.

    NMIT by Tectura Architects. Image: Martin Saunders

    Did you face any design challenges with the project? How did you overcome them?

    Understanding critical spatial relationships and their functions was one design challenge, which needed to balance the different activities and spaces that needed to be accommodated. This was overcome, however, by diligent and effective planning.   

    What projects are you currently working on?

    A project that is currently in the pipeline is the Ankara Science Centre, a major project for the capital city of Turkey. I’m excited about the proposal and design for this project; we have already completed the feasibility and sketch design phases.

    Proposed Ankara Science Centre, Turkey, by Tectura. Image: tectura.com.au

    What do you think is the biggest obstacle for architects in Australia?

    The biggest issue and opportunity facing the architectural profession is the ever changing nature of architectural practice. The significant value, knowledge and technical expertise of architects across all facets of developments is increasing and sometimes under pressure from the nature of private and public industries.

    In addition, the increasingly specialised roles for architects and others within the procurement process means that co-ordination between the specialities is of paramount importance, a role already undertaken by the architect. This specialisation is increasingly an essential function for architects in new procurement arrangements in achieving positive project outcomes for clients.

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