At Edmiston Jones GBB we have a saying, “the solution is not always a building!” This may seem odd coming from an architectural practice where the expectation is that a built structure will be the outcome of a design process. While efficient planning of space to accommodate a clients’ activities is core to any architectural design process, it is particularly challenging when retrofitting existing buildings.
Some past projects illustrate how lateral thinking can come up with unexpected solutions.
Break O’Day Council, Tasmania
Edmiston Jones were given a very specific brief: Investigate ways to extend the existing Council administration building vertically or consider another site to accommodate perceived growth. The constrained site meant that there was no space for substantial additions at ground level.
An analysis of the existing building found that space utilisation was very inefficient with 60% of the area taken by corridors or amenities. Presented with a table to document the projected growth Council were guided to recognise that staff numbers were not going to increase.
The outcome? Reconfiguration of the building within the existing footprint!
St Johns Anglican, Keiraville
Typical of many ageing church congregations, a priority is to provide accessible toilets with easy access. In the case of St Johns, the old backyard dunnies are located on the opposite side of the property to the church entry. An unacceptable situation for the older church members.
Edmiston Jones found that the congregation could be seated with a smaller foot print if the existing bench style pews were replaced with flexible seating. The killer solution was to flip the sanctuary to the opposite side thereby positioning a new entry adjacent new toilets all within the footprint of the existing building.
So, it pays not to be focused on the creation of an architectural edifice when considering the practical utilisation of space. It may be as simple as changing the furniture!