What inspired you to get into architecture?
As a school student I was in total awe of the design for the Sydney Opera House. This exceptional breakaway concept from traditional buildings, caught my imagination and began the inspiration for a lifetime pursuit in contemporary architecture with respect to the past. I am still in awe some 50 odd years later and I am proud that my former architectural practice is now doing significant refurbishment to the Opera House with new and upgraded facilities over the past three years
You love the interplay of light and architecture. What are some of your favourite aspects of this? Time of day? Angles?
My fascination with architecture is only matched by an absolute passion for sketching and painting the light. With an eye for simplification of detail and an obsession with light, I draw and paint constantly in sketchbooks whilst travelling the world for inspiration and pleasure. Some buildings are art, so those which successfully handle the joy and drama of light become the favourites. This are not just contemporary buildings but also historic classical favourites like the Pantheon in Rome. Its all about light.
Could you name your favourite architects and what you love about them?
Favourites are not just the current day ‘starchitects’ Many classical legendary architects like Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) in the design of the Florence Cathedral are favourites. There are over 100 favourites in my contemporary world. The scale today of major projects requires more than a single person to conceive, create, document and deliver. Most big ‘names’ today are figureheads or leaders of large practices so the name is a ‘brand’ and more important than the individual. An example of a contemporary architect today, is like Britain’s Lord Norman Foster, perhaps the most prolific international architect in the world with up to 1000 employees, many of those are acknowledged as being part of a team are listed in alphabetical order in the published credit list for each project as is Foster himself.
What do you enjoy discovering when exploring a new building or space?
Each grand architecture tour is unique. There will always be the absolute favourites like Frank Lloyd Wright’s ‘Fallingwater’ but each tour incorporates very recent work that is included for the very first time. There is always excitement in sharing the well known classics with guests as well as discovering recent works is equally a thrill. The success of contemporary work can also be considered in context with its location, respect for heritage as well as innovation in current technology. Inclusion of new works is also reinvigorating traditional tours that encourages a high percentage of guests to return again on our pilgrimages.
What can our travellers expect on the upcoming European and American tours?
Our next tour to the eastern side of Europe will again revisit the great classical cities for the first time since 2007 mostly in Prague Austria Italy and Greece. Whilst we have included classical historical buildings, the primary focus has been to follow a path of recent and iconic modern and contemporary buildings. Classical cities also require new infrastructure, new buildings, new uses for old buildings and essentially new contemporary facilities dovetailed into the historic fabric. Its not about ‘look at me’ buildings that can show disrespect to neighbours. The USA tours have also been upgraded to cater for different expectations and guestr feedback from our past traditional tours. Our first tour in 2017 will reach beyond Chicago to focus on the eastern seaboard states reaching down to Mexico enabling a leap for some to extend their tour into Cuba. Our second USA tour in October is more the much favoured trail following the work of Frank Lloyd Wright.
What are your favourite things to do when touring?
Introducing the buildings to guests for their appreciation, sharing the background stories, enjoying the company morning noon and night over great meals with like minded people who more often are just lovers of great architecture and not necessarily architects. My appreciation is also to record those moments and absorb the building revisited or newly discovered through sketching along the way. Mostly fun and lots of laughs. The WOW factors are a gauge to the best moments. The path we travel may follow the architecture but the special unexpected moments can be the most memorable aspects of travel.
What were the highlights from the last tour you hosted with Travelrite International?
Our last tour in 2015 was to Europe starting in Finland, following the work of Alvar Aalto down to Berlin and Switzerland across France to Bilbao for Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum with great highlights of Foster’s Bridge along the way. We finished in France on Bastille Day and thoroughly enjoyed Paris in the last few days. The particular highlights were Jean Nouvel’s Cultural Centre in Lucerne and Fosters Reichstag Parliament Building in Berlin. Aalto’s work was so inspiring that we will return in 2018 with an extensive tour of all the Scandinavian countries as well as contemporary architecture in Britain.
What do you love about travelling?
The planning, the constant research, the discovery of new gems, particularly the buildings with high wow factors, sharing the travels with like minded wonderful people who all contribute, in every which-way, to memorable moments that last forever. None of this would be possible without the support, backup, management and exceptional organisational skills from my dear friend Jim Webber and all at Travelrite. In brief, a great sense of fun and pleasure.