Clever Commercial Design

Clever Commercial Design add

Good commercial design provides solutions - it has to be as much about functionality as it is about aesthetic appeal.

This week, Defign sat down with award-winning ADNZ member Darryl Church to hear his thoughts on what makes a successful commercial design.

Darryl's design journey started at Wintec in Hamilton where he studied architectural technology. He got his first "proper" job in his home town of Rotorua working in a new architectural firm. He was their first employee, and stayed with them for around five years before deciding that it was time for a new challenge - going out on his own.

"I struggled a bit for the first few years - it was 1996 when I started, and we were going through a recession. But things picked up, and as a small Rotorua practice, we're punching well above our weight when it comes to projects in this region."

Since starting Darryl Church Architecture, Darryl has worked on a wide range of projects. Up until about seven years ago, his work almost entirely consisted of residential design. But, at the start of yet another recession in 2008, the nature of his business changed.

"Within a matter of weeks, more than half of the work we had on the books was put on hold or cancelled, so we had to change our focus pretty quick to commercial work, which was a good move in hindsight."

That shift in focus has certainly paid off for Darryl and since that time he has made a name for himself when it comes to commercial work. Darryl Church Architecture is now one of the most awarded architectural design practices in New Zealand, having picked up nearly 40 awards - many of these are ADNZ | Resene Architectural Design Awards, which he has received in recognition of his impressive commercial design work.

From Darryl's perspective one of his most memorable commercial projects is the Waipa Wood Processing Workshop. It was completed at a satellite campus for Waiariki Institute of Technology where students could get hands-on experience in sawmilling, wood processing and manufacturing. The project had a relatively tight budget, and had to be built predominantly of timber.

"Even though we had no experience in timber technology, we did quite a bit of research, and didn't take anything as a given. Just because other buildings had been done a certain way, didn't mean this one had to follow suit. We threw out the rule book and started from scratch to create a unique solution," says Darryl.

The design received multiple accolades, including the SUPREME award in the 2012 ADNZ | Resene Architectural Design Awards, and was praised for its sustainability, elegance and sensitivity to materials.

Another of Darryl's most successful commercial designs is the new premises he designed for chartered accountants Bright Wild & Thomas in Rotorua. They had been based in a building overlooking Mokoia Island in Lake Rotorua for many years, and their long-term location was so entrenched in their identity that they had even incorporated it into their company logo. Darryl wanted to preserve this part of their story, so set to work finding a way to bring their former home with them.

"The solution was to clad the building in a glass veil with an image of the island as a subtle reminder of where they'd come from. This is a successful design because it captures a sense of who the client is, and it's not just about how it looks - it also has a highly functional layout that works very well for those who work there."

Darryl has been a member of ADNZ for 16 years, and says much of his success comes down to the support and guidance he has received from the organisation.
"ADNZ has helped my business immensely. I struggled as a young person starting out on my own, but I was offered mentorship from ADNZ Life Member Graham Sawell who lived in Rotorua at the time - this really helped me to get on my feet. ADNZ provides huge support to its members in terms of running a business, and the ANDZ | Resene Architectural Design Awards have always provided me with something to aspire to. The publicity and work I have got off the back of those has been so valuable in helping us build our profile. I'd encourage architectural designers to enter the awards and showcase their work."

ADNZ members are at the forefront of architectural design in New Zealand. The highly coveted annual Architectural Design Awards provide an excellent platform for exposure to the market, as well as valuable media attention. ADNZ also ensures its members have access to support and advice when they need it, along with an online CPD record, ADNZ online Chat, regularly updated terms of engagement and other must-have documentation.

To check out Darryl's ADNZ profile and view more images of his work click here