When you spend around 20 hours a week within the same company of like-minded individuals, you tend to get to know each other fairly quickly; today, I will introduce you to the two architects that I've had the fortune to learn under: David Weir and Ariane Prevost.
This post comes around the time that we've had to say farewell to Ariane, as she takes the leap away from practising architect to the world of real estate, acting as an architectural advisor to a local office and bringing with her the wealth of decades of architectural and building knowledge. While this does mean that there will no longer be someone there to take some lollies and chocolates off my hands, Ariane will continue to be a friend, mentor, agitator and overall stirrer-of-the-pot in the office; whether that is through phone calls, video chat, or the weekly coffee run that we'll strive to turn into a ritual.
The descriptions of these two architects are not what they've given me, nor are they pulled from a magazine or a book; they are biographies that I've crafted through interacting with them on a weekly basis for the last nine or ten months. They're also not focused on the histories or the highlights of their lives, but mostly on what I have experienced. I hope they're fairly accurate - we'll find out soon enough.
David Weir graduated from Curtin University in the mid-2000s with a Masters of Architecture. He has worked for various firms, including SODAA and Arcon, before settling in with Ariane Prevost as a part of PrevostWeir Architects. With the semi-retirement of Ariane soon after, it progressed into his own firm, David Weir Architects.
David's first few projects were additions and alterations to various Perth bars and hospitality businesses, including The Old Crow and The Bird. Small residential projects are something of a pleasure, with The Apartment House and The Exploding! Shed House being recent examples of his work towards smaller living quarters compared to the typical Australian home; consisting of no less than four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a huge backyard, double carport, and large indoor living spaces. He is an advocate for small living within Perth, suggesting that urban sprawl has been detriment to public perception of architects for too long.
David approaches design challenges much like his mentor, Ariane. He is a very practical architect; technical solutions are not an issue, with sketches of resolutions being frequently made in the office and sent to the builder or engineer within the day of issues surfacing, if any. Usually, the easiest architectural solution to a problem is the best one. He has a dislike to three-dimensional representation, only utilising it for solving design issues that cannot be easily solved within a flat environment.
Never one to stand still at any time, he keeps himself busy with creative endeavours outside of architecture, such as Dave's Cans last summer. He is the happiest when he has the copic markers out, the good tunes blaring, and a neat glass of fine Scottish whisky.
He also does not like photos of himself, so I hope that he's alright with this photo being on the internet for all to see.
Ariane Prevost graduated from The University of Western Australia in the 1970's (a very wild guess) with a Bachelor of Architecture. Having been exposed to the profession before the advent of computer assisted drawings and rendering, she has an amazing ability to draw free-hand and to scale; an ability that every student at university today wishes they possessed.
I don't know too much about Ariane's past history with working at architecture practices, but I know that she has been on her own as Ariane Prevost Architect for quite a while. She shared an office with David Weir for seven years before recently making the jump over to real estate management this week.
Her quirky personality is well represented in her architecture and how she describes it - for example, the "huge fricking front door" that is featured in most of her architectural designs. Ariane's architectural representation does not end there, with the example of Marimekko House and the endless use of non-conventional materials in aesthetically-pleasing manners.
Ariane is also a Master Builder, and can often be seen wearing her full outfit of high-visibility clothing (In fact, the first six months of working at DWA, I never saw her wearing anything else). She loves getting hands-on with her projects, and solves architectural design issues on the fly, using her knowledge of construction to establish the most effective solution for any problem. When presented with an issue, she jumps straight on to it and provides solutions - not just in architecture, but in business management and IT; she has gained many skills by observing how I work on her Macbook, and has utilised them without me there!
Ariane also has a massive sweet tooth; I am certainly not helpful in this area, with my never-ending supplies of sweet treats in the office. She is also a huge supporter of the "sausage roll days".
These two are my mentors in this crazy profession, and I wouldn't know what I would do without them there to show me the way. It's important for every student to have a few seasoned professionals from various backgrounds to guide them along the way. The road to being an architect is long and treacherous, so having fantastic mentors to help you along the way makes a world of difference. My experiences with these two at the helm have always been positive and have been influential in the way that I approach architecture and design.
I'm currently working with the state chapter to establish a mentor program for students at UWA and Curtin. It would involve pairing them up with a suitable practising architect as a mentor, where they can learn under their guidance and ask them questions that they can't find the answers to through other means. It will also promote the professional relationships between students and professionals, along with starting them on the journey of networking and getting to know the architects, creatives and professionals of Perth; it's a small world, after all. This proposed program has my complete support; learning under David and Ariane has transformed me into the student architect that I am today, and I want every student to experience the support and education that I have received from these two.
It has been a while since I have posted, but I find less and less time to write on my website; something that I truly miss from my tiring schedule each week. I will strive to release writings more often!