03 July 2018
03 July 2018
Bates Smart, Sydney: Creative, Intelligent, Enduring.
The Culture of Practice
Bates Smart has a strong design ethos that underpins everything that we do, but we leave our egos at the door when we come to work,” says Studio Director Kellie Payne. The practice, which she describes as one of the pioneers of Australian architecture, is working on a number of high profile buildings both in Australia and abroad including the Australian Embassy in Washington D.C. and Constitution Place in Canberra.
“We have a history of timeless design, pursuing projects based on the opportunity for innovation rather than the desire for growth,” she continues. The practice, which employs 150 staff in its office in Surry Hills, cultivates a small studio atmosphere despite its large size, believing that “we can’t design buildings that are of their time if we don’t design collectively.”
The open-plan office is split across two floors of an old Art Deco cinema building, former home to the 20th Century Fox studios. “The studio is a very authentic representation of what we do and what we are about,” Payne adds. Every bit of the building is utilised from the original screening room, which acts as a space for whole office meetings, to the breakout space on the top floor, which overlooks the nearby park and serves as the studio’s social heart. Working in project teams, staff are split up throughout the two open floors, which are each separated into four zones. “We have a small studio atmosphere. Each of the zones has about 40 people working in it, and you can move easily across the floors, which really helps boost collaboration. It doesn’t feel like it is 150 people,” says Payne. They also match project teams and staff requirements to people’s career paths, which she adds “takes a lot more negotiation and planning… direct career path planning is very different but very important if you want to truly support each person and their personal goals.” This creates an office where staff can grow and where social events thrive. Each project win and completion is celebrated, and meetings are often held over food and drinks. “Collaborating over food really builds deeper relationships than just sitting around a meeting table,” she concludes.
Photo Credits: (footer) Canberra Airport Hotel, Canberra @ Anson Smart - Architects / Bates Smart Studio
Author: Josefina Luna, Marketing Assistant, Bespoke Careers