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Profile: Kim Crestani

With our monthly theme being all things architecture, who better to profile than our Paramount freelance resident, Kim Crestani, founder of the multi award-winning Order Architects. She has over 30 years’ experience in the business of architecture, urban design and city planning (especially in the transport field). Her work has been published extensively in Vogue Living, Belle, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian Weekend Magazine, The Real Estate Journal, Architecture Australia, House and Garden, and the Architecture Bulletin, and she’s no stranger to the camera lens, most notably for her interview in the highly acclaimed ABC television series ‘In the Mind of the Architect.’ She was also panelist on the ABC’s ‘The New Inventors,’ for her revolutionary home add-on creation. The Office Space puts her back in the interview seat for insights into her practice. TOS: Almost immediately after graduating from university, you set up your practice, Order Architects, in Parramatta. Why did you decide to branch out solo as opposed to working for an established practice? KC: I was young and very enthusiastic and thought that Parramatta needed more architects. As I was from the suburbs it was a natural progression. I had worked for some local firms but decided to take the risk on my own adventure. Looking back, in the first ten years of your practice, how would you define your niche offerings? We were a small hands-on design firm which respected the rich heritage and history of Parramatta and we had ambitious drive to make architecture that was beautiful and viable. You branched out for a time as Director of Architecture at Sydney Metro and Principal Manager of Architecture and Station Precincts on the North West Rail Link before taking on the role as Senior Executive in the NSW Public Sector from 2009-2014. What did these positions involve? This was like driving a Maserati with both feet on the accelerator! It was intense and a huge project with many facets, a demanding program and then, disappointingly, cancelled. Fortunately, the city and South West Metro is now revived and will be a transformational project for Sydney. You continue to be actively engaged with urban design review panels and design excellence panels for major transport projects plus state and local government projects such as Sydney International Convention and Exhibition Centre along with direct involvement in Inner West Light Rail, Wynyard Walk, plus Master Plan and Sydney Metro. Tell us about your affinity with city planning? What drives this interest? Transport and Land Use must be coupled. I am a huge advocate for density provided it is fully “connected” to place and transport. Huge infrastructure projects are costly and multi-facetted. I am so glad I have been able to work on so many that, combined, “knit” parts of Sydney together. When you look at the Sydney urban landscape, what makes you cringe and what inspires you? I am appalled at the lack of quality of some buildings and very sub-optimal design. Purely and simply it is waste and/or greed that is driving it. But on the other hand, there are joyous buildings being created by inspiring and dedicated architects who really love what they do and they attach themselves to high caliber clients and builders who deliver one great building after another. Switching gear to the private arena, tell us about your affordable renovation/home add-on scheme “The Pod System” (thepodsystem™) that allows people to live in their existing home whilst the “Pod” is being constructed. When did it launch? What does this invention involve?   I have been working on this for some years now and continue with a great team of supporters aiming to produce an elegant solution that is high quality architecture but at the same time affordable. The patent was great to receive and now we are working collaboratively with CSR systems to refine and deliver the product at affordable price points. With your combined experience in the public sector (including your engagement with Parramatta City Council late last year as their first City Architect during an exciting phase in their city re-development) and success in the private home renovation arena, how would you describe Order Architects’ current niche offerings (or are they too broad)? I have come full circle and am very proud to be included in Parramatta’s next growth phase. We are promoting the delivery of very high quality design excellence buildings by top shelf architects using a robust competition process. The aim is to ensure the built form and the public domain is truly integrated. I continue to strive in all my consultancy roles for the best buildings and infrastructure at every level. orderarchitects.com Find out more about The Pod System HERE   Header Icon

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