16 June 2018
16 June 2018
BKK, Melbourne: Transparent, Purposeful, Transformative.
The Culture of Practice
From research to tea breaks and down time, Melbourne-based BKK describes its way of working as expanded practice. All of the 21 staff at the 17- year-old firm are engaged in some kind of activity outside of the practice from running workshop spaces to private architectural work and teaching. “We’ve always employed staff who are interested in other things,” says Founding Director Simon Knott. The practice has worked hard over the years to achieve gender parity (now 50/50) and racial/ethnic diversity.
The practice’s directors also actively encourage staff to take time out from studio work. Each week everyone from the students to the associates is given two hours which they can use to do anything. “We don’t want to know what it is and they don’t have to get it approved. They can go see a gallery, read a book, watch a film – do whatever they want within that time. It encourages people to do other things,” comments Knott.
Friday nights are also filled with events where collaborators, friends of the practice, clients and project partners head to BKK’s studio for presentations and drinks.
The studio took up residence in a run-down building in the heart of Chinatown 16 years ago and is a real creative hub. Since they moved in the Brutalist building has been heritage listed and a community has developed around the space. “The whole area has become more gentrified and smartened up. It is now one of the more desirable parts of town,” adds Knott.
“We have always tried to share our office with other people – anyone from filmmakers to interior designers and other architects. It made us appear bigger than we were and we learnt a lot from sharing the space with other people. There is a big meeting room space, a model making space, a large materials library, and flexible spaces. It is a pretty practical space. It is not a precious space.”
Author: Kat Allenby, Global Head of Communications, Bespoke Careers