In his own words, David Weir characterises his orientation to architecture as “schizophrenic”. Speaking to the enormous breadth of application (or diversity in importance) for architecture in our lives, Weir’s “schizophrenic” approach is – definitely in my opinion – precisely what the discipline needs. Like the refinement of any creative pursuit, that of architecture requires constant exposure to not only the more weird and wonderful side projects which capture our imagination, but the more weird and wonderful that walk amongst us. In our harried attention for concrete and stone, brick and steel – the bones of our buildings – we too often overlook their heart. That is, the all too easily forgotten human element.
Across Western Australia, it is becoming harder and harder to avoid noticing this human element. While the East enjoys increasing prosperity and large-scale investment, the West is meanwhile disconsolate. The Global Financial Crisis has only recently showed the full force of its savagery along the West Coast. For where, once, Western Australia could feel confident in its steadfast mining industry, the collapse of that sector is now being felt state-wide. And while my publishing colleagues may like to toll the bell of resolute despair, I’m slightly more hopeful. Recently, the interest in architecture and design throughout Western Australia has transformed into what has become quite a surprising quality of resilience and unforeseen innovation. And for this, David Weir’s eponymous firm is exemplar.
From residential to hospitality, commercial to experimental, the portfolio of David Weir Architects (led by its principal, David Weir) is optimistic and forward-thinking. His recent projects like the Apartment House and the Exploding! Shed House unite an aesthetic formal language of joy and frivolity with an ideological approach that celebrates ecological and sociological sustainability. While our urban centres continue to sprawl at a rate entirely disproportionate to both our per-capita population and the median socio-economic line, Weir’s attention to the use of future-proof material, locally produced and supplied manufacture and a strong team of developing architects, designers and planners takes the discipline of architecture out of its esoteric ivory tower – firmly re-entrenching it back into an ecology of communality.
So: the human element. For a boutique firm, it is truly remarkable to observe the process by which David Weir Architects is not only invested in the future-proof aspects of its projects, but likewise of its industry too. Driven by the ethos of developing talent, DWA remains steadfast in its committment to foster the next generation of the architectural braintrust. Informed partly from his own professional pedigree, but also from his recent teaching and mentoring at Curtin University and University of Western Australia’s Schools of Architecture, the paradigm David Weir entrusts to those entering the profession is holistic. Through exposing growing talent to every aspect of the consultative process – sites, client interface, collaborative briefing, design, finances – the firm’s relatively young median age is offset by its highly advanced professional nous.
Undoubtedly, such educationally-oriented attentiveness deserves celebration. As such, Weir has been recently named 2016 WA Emerging Architect. On October 15th for Contemporary Wine In Design, we could think of nobody more informed of the nuanced nature of contemporary architectural practice throughout Australia’s West Coast. As part of everything going down throughout Perth on the day, David Weir will be weighing-in on our inaugural seminar East v West:
Design discussion often throws the words ‘collaboration’ and ‘co-operation’ around a little too recklessly. In Western Australia, the word ‘competition’ should be added to the mix. The focus and hype around A+D in this country is undeniably skewed in favour of the East Coast. But what does the West do differently? What is the distinction between the two orientations toward design? What can we learn?
Contemporary would like to thank David Weir for joining forces to bring the biggest architecture and design event of the year to Perth. Be sure to register now to be part of the action.
David Weir Architects
Words by David Congram