One of Australia’s longest established architectural practices, Conrad Gargett recently released a commemorative book that celebrates their legacy of enduring architecture.
The book titled ‘Conrad Gargett 1890-2015’ was launched at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in Sydney by reputed architect Chris Johnson.
Conrad Gargett managing director Lawrence Toaldo says, “We all work in the property industry. It is a profoundly positive industry to work in. We all take pride in the meaningful places that we create for people. It is also a challenging industry - it is cyclical in nature, and each time we build a structure, it is unique, and with that comes the issues that uniqueness brings - professional services and contractor procurement is complex, technology is constantly advancing, the public’s expectations of the places that we create are continually increasing, so we are always innovating and improving upon what we have designed and delivered in the past.”
Founded in 1890, Conrad Gargett has survived two world wars, a depression, and other economic downturns, all whilst building a legacy of enduring buildings.
“This book is not only a story of the buildings and the projects that our practice has designed and delivered, but it is also about the talented people who led and contributed to these projects. Since 1890 the practice has continued to evolve, and now we have over 160 people working in Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Townsville, Melbourne and Ethiopia,” Toaldo says.
According to Toaldo, their practice has grown in skill and expertise over the years across a range of specialist sectors, supported by innovative designers and talent that continue to stand the test of time. With this team, they will continue to build upon the incredible legacy well into the future.
Director of Conrad Gargett based in the Sydney studio, Laura Cockburn highlighted that Conrad Gargett’s people and workplace culture have been fundamental to the studio’s success. “Critical to the creation of a cohesive workplace was the creation of a shared culture. It has been one of our key drivers in the success of the studio to engage with and develop our culture that has enabled us to shape and grow our team of passionate and engaged multi-disciplinary professionals.”
“Conrad Gargett’s core purpose is creating meaningful places for people. Most recently, we have led projects in NSW across education, health, aged care, retail, mixed use, defence, rail, ports and infrastructure, urban design, civic placemaking and heritage sectors. Each project embodies our ethos and contributes positively to the built environment. We are currently witnessing a number of these projects rise out of the ground and are looking forward to delivering the communities we are creating.”
Cockburn was recently appointed as the vice president of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) (NSW Chapter).
Architect Chris Johnson, former NSW government architect and former executive director at the NSW Department of Planning, formally launched the book.
Reinforcing the civic responsibility of architects in the delivery of quality buildings for the good of society, he says, “The reality is Sydney and other Australian cities are going through a major change, becoming denser and more urban. Our cities need architects to make it happen properly. This is a big agenda.”
Conrad Gargett’s book documents the substantial 125-year legacy of the practice and includes 560 photographs and original drawings from the practice’s archive of more than 10,000 projects. It features comprehensive commentaries of the places that were created and the talented people who collaborated to produce architecture of consistent quality.
This book was edited by Robert Riddel, contains research by Donald Watson and Susan Hill, and has contributions by Michael Keniger, Malcolm Middleton and Bruce Wolfe.