Ever wondered what makes an architect tick? Where do they get their inspiration, how does it all come together and what does it feel like to be standing in front of your own design when it’s finally complete? We chatted to Nick Grbin of Sawnbury Penglase, the architect of AERIS On The Park, to pick his brain on the process of designing this unique building in Bowden.

How do you find your initial inspiration when starting on an architectural project such as AERIS?  

I find walking the site of great benefit to get an idea of the surroundings, orientation and overall feel. I also take plenty of photos of the existing site and surroundings. 

What’s your starting point when designing a project?  

It’s dependent on the type of project, but gaining a comprehensive understanding of a client’s brief is our first step, followed by understanding a site’s surroundings. Those are the two key starting points for us.

Can you describe the creative process of taking a concept from the back of a serviette or a stick scribble in the dirt to reality?

I’d like to say I’m the cliché Architect scribbling designs on the back of serviettes or envelopes, but to be honest I enjoy getting to the office early when it’s nice and quiet, making a cup of coffee and starting to simply sketch a few ideas on my notepad. I also tend to get into 3D SketchUp on the computer to assist the early design phase for massing simple 3D forms of the building. I find early 3d massing in a project extremely helpful – especially in multi-residential design – to see how the building mass will sit in the streetscape.

Is the creative process a solitary one or are the best ideas sourced from debate among your peers?

I definitely enjoy collaborating with my peers. Especially given the differing project types, talking to others about their experience in that project type and the do’s and don’ts really helps to generate a stronger design. Having a fresh set of eyes also helps pick up things that I may not have considered because at times it can be easy to get absorbed in one solution.

Can you describe the feeling you get when you see a project completed, residents moved in and the building working as you intended it would?

I find this extremely rewarding and actually relieving at the same time, given the amount time and energy that is put in to a project from start and to finish  – not only from the architect but the client, consultants and contractors.

Do you feel that as an architect you have a responsibility to make a contribution to future generations?  Do you ask, “will I be proud of this in 50 years?”

Firstly I feel we are quite privileged as Architect’s/Designers that we have the opportunity to help shape communities through built form. I do feel there is a responsibility as an architect to ensure a building works within its surrounding and hopefully gives something back to the community. We have seen this with recent developments in Adelaide such as Adelaide Oval, SAMRHI and the Unisa City West Campus. Interestingly I also often consider what my children will think walking through a building which I have worked on in 30 years time. Hopefully, it’s still there! But I would like to think it stood the test of time and has been enjoyed by many people over the years.

What do you see as being the key design features that sets AERIS apart from the rest?

  • Its location within the Bowden precinct – relationship to Kevin Taylor Park
  • Three street frontages
  • The large central courtyard enabling an enhanced outlook and plenty of natural light
  • The majority of apartments have a dual aspect
  • There is essentially no back to this building – it has activated facades all round

What makes a residential complex like AERIS successful?

  • Functional planning
  • Increased natural light
  • Connection to the streets
  • Warm contemporary interiors

Construction at AERIS On The Park is now well underway. To book an appointment to view available floor plans, pricing and more, call 1800 269 336 or email aeris@connektup.com.au.