Reflecting on a decade of growth and diverse projects with our small but mighty team.
This year marks a decade since my wife Vishakha and I founded R ARCHITECTURE, and we’re incredibly proud to note how far the business has come from our humble beginnings.
From a single computer set up on a small table in our house, the past ten years have seen our practice grow into a dedicated, tight-knit team of architects and designers united by shared values: the democratisation of good design, the relationships we build, and the opportunities we can create through our work.
Building a Family-Focused Future in the Suburbs
Like many business ventures, R ARCHITECTURE’s origin story is perhaps better described as an adaptive response than a strategic endeavour. Following the birth of our first child, we took stock of our respective careers in architecture – Vishakha at John Wardle Architects and myself at Hayball – and decided the best way for us to move forward as a young family would be to forge our own path.
Rather than either of us having to forgo work because of family commitments, we could pool the expertise we had gained in large established firms and work together to ensure a continuous stream of projects. We also saw an untapped opportunity in designing elevated yet affordable homes for the middle market, having observed people’s reactions to the substandard quality of suburban architecture. There was, and in some cases, a perception that the average family couldn’t afford to work with an architect. We wanted to build an approachable, accessible practice to address that.
Growing Our Team and Service Offering
As a small business, we are defined and bolstered by the diverse talent and personalities of the people we have been fortunate to work with. Towards the end of 2014, we brought on our first team member, Gauri Pisolkar. She remains a diligent stalwart of the business and as a project architect, has risen to every challenge we’ve thrown her way. Associate Fletcher Hawkins brings great clarity and perspective to each project he’s involved with, making a significant contribution through his work with our various clients. Diana Ruiz joined us later with a background in architecture and a very keen interest in interior design. She has allowed us to expand more confidently into interiors.
It is immensely rewarding to see this core crew grow professionally, alongside other valuable members of our team who create our vibrant in-house culture, even while working remotely, during a pandemic. Each brings admirable drive, innovation, and humanity to what we do.
As we do with each person in our practice, the R ARCHITECTURE approach centres on cultivating strong relationships with a broad network of collaborators, clients, consultants, and stakeholders. We believe that if somebody is investing multi-millions in a project you’ve designed, they have to be able to trust you. So we put a lot of focus in building and earning that trust. It has been a huge factor in gaining more work and growing our network. It is gratifying to have reached a point where we are being engaged for new projects following strong recommendations from past clients.
Constructive Connections Leading to Creative Collaborations
We have seen the scale and scope of our work change drastically, in line with our own trajectory as a business. From small, meaningful residential projects, we have added a number of thoughtful, exemplary multi-residential apartments and civic-minded commercial works to our portfolio. This diversification of typologies has enabled our team to stretch their professional capabilities with a breadth of learning to enrich our service offering across the board further.
So what do the next ten years hold for R ARCHITECTURE?
While we enjoy the size of our practice and have no ambitions to become a large-scale operation, we would like to establish an interstate presence in Sydney and perhaps in one other major Australian city. We’d like to continue delivering the kind of work that motivates us – liveable, enduring spaces that raise the bar for suburban architecture and help dismantle the misconception that good architecture needs to break the bank. Our aim for growth is fuelled by a broader goal: to have these ideas about how better design could be made more accessible and heard by a bigger audience.
It has been an incredible journey thus far and we invite new collaborators and clients to join us in the chapters to come.