BRIAN VAN DER PLAAT DESIGN STUDIO
“We require from buildings two kinds of goodness: first, the doing their practical duty well: then that they be graceful and pleasing in doing it.”
RUSKIN, Stones of Venice
From working in my father’s building company as a teenager to managing my own architecture and design practice, I have experienced first-hand all aspects of building and design.
I set up my company Brian van der Plaat Design as a solo operator in 2003, following a decade with major architectural firms Burley Katon Halliday and Ed Lipmann Associates. With those firms, I worked across retail and commercial design, and both individual and multi-residential projects. Standout projects included the Butterfly House in Sydney’s Dover Heights and Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool at The Domain.
In addition to my architectural work, for the past 20 years I have consistently worked part-time as a lecturer at The Sydney Institute Enmore Design Centre, specialising in core design and visual communication subjects. I am also a tutor for final-year interior architecture students at the University of NSW.
My connection to architecture is through the process of drawing and making, which comes from my background growing up in the ’70s and ’80s. These skills were developed as a child by playing with my friends and brothers and helping my father in his workshop and building both the holiday and family homes. I enjoy this as a creative process. All projects and concepts are developed by hand as sketches and models. It is a hands-on craftsman solution, which allows the exploration of ideas. I use it as an active communication tool to show possibilities and explain concepts to clients. The clients enjoy handcrafted one-off artworks and models that we develop together for their spaces.
I create simple, elegant projects by following the Modernist principles. All projects are based around a simple planning solution, developed around a rational structure. They are responsive to site and topography and always mindful of our environmental responsibility. All projects are finely resolved and well crafted. Materials, finishes and technology are carefully considered. Each job is about possibilities, working closely with each client to create unique, beautiful projects with timeless appeal.
TYPES OF PROJECTS
I work on a range on projects from single residential dwellings, whether alterations and additions or new builds, mixed-use and multi-residential architecture, as well as retail and commercial projects. As a sole trader I have a craftsman like approach to each project, which suits my skill base and personality. Having control of every aspect of a project, being able to adjust and refine each job as it progresses, I can work closely with clients to deliver the best results.
I knew the brilliant photographer Sharrin Rees for many years. We met on my first day working for Burley Katon Halliday in 1994. Since then we photographed many projects together both for BKH and 12 projects for my own practice.
Sharrin was a perfectionist, trained in the old school ways of pre-digital photography, making sure every shoot was perfectly set up, always up early to catch the sunrise and the perfect morning light in a room. She had a great eye for each project, fastidious with detail, obsessed with natural light, always finding the best aspects. We always finished well after the sun set to catch the beautiful twilight. Sharrin was a great architectural photographer an artist who was relentlessly committed to her craft. She was also the most generous friend you could hope for.
Sharrin, thank you for your unique view of each project, thank you for the most beautiful photographs, thank you for the timeless images and most of all thank you for the great friendship.