BVN Donovan Hill have come together to form a new architecture studio, with James Grose national director at BVN.

Starting at the end of the 1980s with his own practice, Grose Bradley Architecture, before becoming a principal of BVN Architecture through a merger in 1998, Grose was appointed BVN’s national director in 2006.

Architecture & Design spoke to him about why the firms have merged, the aims of the merger and why he wants to adopt a German system here. 

Why was BVN Donovan Hill formed?

We are interested in building a better design culture and delivering better solutions. Also its about setting a strategy that is anticipating what an architecture practice in the coming decades of the 21st century needs to be.

What do you hope to achieve with it and what projects will you work on?

We are hoping to create a new studio culture that will be unique to Australia and which is participative, engaging and far reaching. We believe the future of architecture is in the cultural milieu and not restricted to the world of construction. Our view is that local is now global and therefore our merger establishes a platform to explore the global culture of design. 

Will partnerships like this become more common in the industry?

Clearly with our view that architecture is a cultural endeavour that sits more and more in a participative realm, the profession needs to become more collaborative, more lateral, more malleable and more agile in a complex international business environment and so we can export many new diverse design partnerships.

What do you think has been the biggest change to the industry over the past five years?

In Australia the introduction of BIM has been the biggest change and continues to be the catalyst for rethinking how architecture services are delivered.

What do you think will be the biggest change in the next five years?

The biggest change will be the growing sophistication of BIM and its ability to extend through to a range of disciplines such as facilities management. The converging interest of the building professions through BIM and technology puts architecture trending toward a more collaborative role, which is different from the past when it tended to be the leading profession.

If there was one thing you could change about the industry, what would it be?

That we would adopt the German system whereby fees are fixed by government decree and published for all clients to understand and are not negotiable and that the architecture profession would unite behind a fixed fee 

What project are you most proud of designing and why?

The Kinghorn Cancer Centre is a building that is truly derived from the needs of the client - it makes their work more engaged and makes a workplace that combines the necessary rigour of a research environment merge with a caring, tactile, human scaled patient centre.