Our client’s vision for the Emerald Place early learning centre in Melbourne was to create the world’s best early learning centre. So, we sought the current world’s best architect of early learning spaces, Takaharu Tezuka, designer of the Fuji Kindergarten in Tokyo, to work with us through the conceptual design stage to create a unique space that complemented Melbourne’s climate, town planning and early learning regulatory environment.
Milton Architects managed the concept collaboration stage. I travelled to Tokyo about once a month for design workshops in Tezuka Architects studio and we spoke with Tezuka-San who travels constantly for lecturing and speaking engagements (Tezuka’s TED talk), via face time meetings, conference calls and Google Hangouts from wherever he was in the world.
The design workshops in his studio in Japan were quite epic and were a process of constant design refinement where we tested ideas, always keeping our client’s brief and vision top of mind and in the context of Melbourne’s climate and regulatory environments.
We found a lot of common ground in that we both love organic architecture that looks to nature for inspiration and I think this is evident in how the conceptual design process evolved.
The result of our conceptual collaboration for Emerald Place is something truly unique that utilises both design and education principles for the early childhood sector that suits Australia’s climate and the regulatory environment in which it will be built and operated.
Collaborating with Tezuka was a great opportunity to share knowledge and architectural and building practices in both Japan and Australia. It enlivened our practice with new design approaches and studio process ideas about modelling which we will continue to apply to other projects.
The project is now at the design documentation stage and we have Sockkee Ooi on secondment from Tezuka in Japan to Milton Architects for about six months to prepare the construction drawings and detailed design documentation, so our mutually enriching collaboration continues.
I have collaborated on many projects over the years and believe open mindedness, positivity and good communication are probably the most important qualities all parties can bring to the table.
A previous successful and close collaboration with Brookwater Covenant Architect, Steve Drake, resulted in two highly customised quality finished homes that capitalised on and complied with the very specific contemporary design covenant of Brookwater residential lifestyle estate and delivered on our client’s hopes and dreams.
I have worked with Steve many times and he views collaboration as having similarities to ‘water-cooler’ talk - you don’t know until you communicate with someone with an open mind what they know and what you can learn from them, it’s a sharing of wisdom not just a sharing of knowledge.
When collaboration brings together open minds with broad wisdom and knowledge, the result is never formulaic.
Milton Architects are always interested to discuss collaboration projects, contact us via our website or on 0410 660 538. We would love to hear your ideas.