07 June 2018
07 June 2018
Bates Smart, Melbourne: Timeless, Agile, Innovative.
The Culture of Practice
Bates Smart has been at the forefront of Australian architecture for more than 165 years, often setting the standard for design that is enduring and timeless. The firm’s Melbourne office operates from Australia’s first modernist curtain-wall skyscraper – a Bates Smart design that dates back to the 1950s – where they work on anything from luxury residential and hospitality architecture and interiors to education, health and civic projects.
Spread across two open-plan floors, the studio’s 150 staff sit in project bases and work collaboratively on both architecture and interior design. “Collaboration is very important to us and our younger staff have the ability to jump between projects,” says Melbourne Studio Director Cian Davis. “The management structure runs quite smoothly in the background to support opportunity and fluidity.”
Creative intelligence has always been a cornerstone in Bates Smart’s practice, and today’s innovations are anything but old. The firm is pressing on with developing new technologies. “There is a long legacy of Bates Smart being technical innovators,” Davis says.
With the studio’s three 3D printers, they produce prototypes for projects, and make components and hardware. They also use virtual reality for presenting to clients – a process which Davis adds is being pushed strongly by the Australian government. The studio utilised the technology to model the new Australian Embassy in Washington D.C. “It allows us to clearly communicate our ideas,” comments Davis. “A few years ago, we were worried about putting VR headsets on our clients. But it actually removes a lot of barriers when communicating our design ideas because we can simulate how it will feel to experience our architecture and interior spaces.”
They combine this with parametric modelling and other advanced design techniques. “We do a lot of advanced parametric geometry, but it’s not a driver of our design – it is a process,” adds Davis. “Each project has its own unique challenges and often we use parametricism to find a construction solution rather than to define the building’s form.”
Author: Kat Allenby, Global Head of Communications, Bespoke Careers