“As architects we seek to make ourselves relevant to the world, to make spaces that engage and are compelling beyond their function,” says Austin Maynard Architects co-director Mark Austin.

Widely-renowned for their boundless creative energy, Austin Maynard Architects' designs are well-conceived, playful and edgy. However, it’s their work with the Nightingale concept that is of most interest.  

How is the Nightingale concept progressing, and is it being embraced by more councils across Australia?

The Nightingale concept is growing at a healthy and controlled pace. The Nightingale housing board and the team at Nightingale Housing are responsible for this. They have both been doing an amazing job of promoting Nightingale amongst potential purchasers and Architects. We have found that LGA’s have had a fantastic response to the NG model.

Our experience with Moreland City Council has been great with Nightingale 3.0 and our Nightingale Village projects. We have spoken with a number of other Melbourne municipalities about possible projects within their borders, again met with enthusiasm and excitement.

The same theme continues with our other Nightingale project in Bendigo and Brisbane.

When we talk about sustainable design, do you think that the Nightingale concept goes far enough or can it go even further? Does it need to go further?

Yes, it can go further. Nightingale housing has set the bar and a good and achievable level. We need to balance the sustainable strategies with their cost. As techniques and technology advance, becoming more commonplace and making them more cost effective I foresee the Nightingale concept increasing the bar.

It has been really exciting to see a common theme in recent projects across the multi residential field that have really stepped up their sustainability strategies. This is no doubt a result of the purchasers been more educated and demeaning more from each project. I have no doubt that the work of Nightingale housing has played a big role in this.    

Australia has buildings that have been designed in a way that makes them totally unsuitable for its climate. What would be one quick change you would make to remedy this?

I doubt a quick change is going to address the problem adequately. My suggestion is the implementation of a more intelligent software to rate homes. The one we presently have is a bit too limited and is not servicing its intended purpose.

What is the biggest issues facing firms such as yours in 2018, and how are you addressing this?

At Austin Maynard Architects we aim for all of our projects to be individual and remarkable in direct response to the brief, site and location.

Where do you see your firm in the next 10 years?

Hopefully still having fun.