Building on the work of Founder Harold Boas, Buchan Director Andre Jones says the practice is intent on shaping Perth’s built environment both now and well into the future.
Originally designing buildings under the moniker of Oldham, Boas and Ednie-Brown before its rebrand, Buchan has shaped Perth’s urban fabric for 125 years.
“Architecture is not about the buildings, it's about the spaces between the buildings. Architects could argue that architecture is the building itself and everything around it is irrelevant. However, I take the view that architecture is the creation of places where people want to congregate and spend their time. Placemaking is the ongoing continuous habitation of spaces for people,” says Jones.
“The role of the architect in Perth is evolving. There's a critical need for architects to be involved in city creation and reform than ever before. People are changing the way they live. Design plays a crucial role in the process of urbanisation and city making in fortifying these spaces for future generation, including connectivity of transport infrastructure.”
Buchan is currently crafting a $1 billion masterplan for the community of Cockburn which will intertwine residential, commercial, retail and public open spaces.
“We’re creating a population around an area, which is traditionally a car-based city, transforming them into walkable, urbanised precincts with all the amenities that people need in their daily lives. The project becomes almost a standalone micro-city in itself. We are currently working on three similar projects in Perth, transforming a traditional shopping centre into mixed-use destinations.”
Jones says that there are many tough decisions yet to be made on dealing with urban sprawl in Perth’s north and south corridors.
“All the pieces are slowly falling into place. There are great planning strategies in place. We now have community title legislation and the government is looking at planning reform that removes the nimby (not in my backyard) debate, but for one reason or another there is a lack of actual construction happening.
“At this point no one wants to be “first down the mine” with community title but it will come. Some form of incentive needs to be found to inject development. No one wants to be first and the public needs to be educated on the benefits of community titles. Once that happens, and we find appropriate incentives, I think it will be the avalanche that causes us to rethink how we build our city and metro areas.”
Buchan is now located at 44 King St in Perth which was designed by one of the firm’s founding forefathers in 1904.
“Returning to our original space is a celebration of being able to reference our significant history in Perth,” Jones says.
“The building reflects on quite a lot of our work that we've done in Perth over the past 125 years. When you're in the building, you can actually see out towards the many buildings we have built in Perth - we almost built the whole street. There is a lot of history that Buchan was involved in in the city-making of Perth. In fact, some of the modern buildings you see in Perth, we have built and demolished buildings on the same land several times over.”
For more information on the practice, visit buchangroup.com.