Andrew Burns Architect is a young and enthusiastic practice, established in 2008.
Andrew Burns Architect is a young and enthusiastic practice, established in 2008. Work undertaken to date includes numerous houses, alterations and additions, multi-unit projects, small commercial projects and a range of speculative design competitions.
In establishing his practice, Andrew Burns has built upon experience at Neeson Murcutt Architects, including roles as project architect on two Wilkinson Award winning projects; the Whale Beach and Five Dock houses.
Andrew Burns Architect seeks to undertake a high standard of work, integrating environmental concerns, social sustainability and a refined aesthetic sensitivity. The practice enjoys the process of community engagement and seeks to integrate meaningful dialogue into all projects.
The practice’s work demonstrates an ability to respond to urban and landscape settings, undertaking all projects with an attention to detail and a clear conceptual basis.
Andrew Burns Architect is currently making a transition to larger projects and has commenced projects for a range of social housing and aged care providers. The practice seeks to undertake work that responds to emerging social conditions, breathing life into the fields of aged care and affordable housing and finding memorable design possibilities within both.
He chats with ArtsHub about how he got into the industry.
What inspired you to undertake a career in architecture?
The desire to do something both constructive and creative.
Is there a mission to your work?
Yes. To undertake work at an exceptional standard of design, to serve the client and create projects that are socially and environmentally sustainable.
What's your background – what study/experience was involved to get to where you are?
4 years at Bates Smart under Philip Vivian during university. I learnt a great deal about how to drive a project forward from Philip. I also developed an appreciation for understated work with a clear concept - a characteristic of Bates Smart's projects.
5 years at Neeson Murcutt after graduation. Nick and Rachel's passion for architecture refined my direction.
Can you describe an "average" working day for you?
7am site visit or into the office. Spend the morning making calls or briefing my colleagues and the afternoon drawing, reviewing a design, etc. If I get carried away on an idea for a competition or project it can run into the night - although not too often!
What's the one thing - piece of equipment, toy, security blanket, – you can't work without?
Who in the industry most inspires you?
Alejandro Aravena from Chile is doing some good work, combining social enterprise with excellent design. I find Tadao Ando's work endlessly inspiring.
What in the industry do you despair about?
No despair only optimism.
What is the best thing about your job?
The breadth and diversity. In the next month I will start a project in Japan (a gallery for an art Triennale), progress some aged care work in Sydney and complete two fantastic houses, one in the bush and one in the city.
Also, I enjoy working with a range of people to accomplish a project together; client, builder, consultants.
What’s the worst?
The cost of construction.
What are the top three skills you need in architecture?
Synthesis, empathy and persistence.
What’s your favourite period of architecture?
There is a lineage of the work from Asplund and Utzon, through Louis Kahn and Tadao Ando that is marked by the creation of uplifting, calm spaces with a sense of permanence - I am inspired by this lineage.
What’s your favourite building?
The Kimbell or the Alhambra - both superb.
What advice would you give anyone looking to break into your field?
Only go into it if you love it. If you love it and work hard you will break through. When you go through a lean patch stay focussed on the goal and use it as a time to develop your ideas.
What do you see as the current trends in architecture?
A movement away from tectonic expression towards an object quality.
Where modernist architects' primary area of innovation was formal (introduction of steel and concrete frames) the innovation of the current generation will be social (being an effective agent of positive social restoration).
What does success mean to you in your industry?
Serving clients, undertaking socially restorative work and international projects, not having to spend more than three days away from my wife at any one time.