December 21, 2020
For the seventh of a series of short interviews with KPA team members, to help you get to know us all a bit better, Lino Iacomella (LI) interviewed Todd Paterson (TP).
Todd is KPA’s Director
and has been part of the KPA team since 1998. He is an aged care and disability
design advocate and father of three children. On top of his busy schedule, Todd
sits on numerous boards and design committees, volunteering his time and commitment
to the wider community.
LI: How has KPA
Architects adapted to the pandemic?
TP: Wow, good
question. We have adapted in many ways by being nimble, flexible and pivoting
our thought processes and approaches in this new age. For some projects we were
already working on it was business as usual, for others we had to adapt to
change quickly. This year in 2020, through great relationships with clients and
builders, we completed the construction of Treeby Parklands Community Care for
Opal HealthCare, ALDI Refresh comprising of 18 store refurbishments, Rocky Bay
Girrawheen SDA housing and Manoah Homes Aged Care additions and alterations.
At the end of
March 2020, it became evident the future landscape of working was going to be
very different. Flexibility is already part of the fabric and culture of KPA
Architects and I had previously discussed this when invited to do so by the
Australian Institute of Architects WA Chapter for a CPD event in 2019. A fully
flexible workforce was an idea we discussed, looking at a timeline of 5 -10
years of when this may occur. Low and behold COVID-19 fast tracked that time
frame. However, preparation was key and we were certainly prepared. At that
event I also discussed the role of being flexible for a range of ages, cultures
and stages of life. This was evident towards the end of 2019 and throughout
2020 where three of our staff were at various stages of parental leave, with three
beautiful babies having entered the world. Throughout the year we have had many
meetings, Zoom and MS Teams videoconferences where those babies, other
children, siblings and pets have been present. It brings great joy and a
refreshingly different mood to meetings.
LI: Has COVID-19
changed your approach to building design?
TP: We have had
some really interesting discussions with our clients this year as to how
Architecture will be affected going forward. We expect aged care design will
have more of an emphasis on quality, small home models of care, whilst still
being able to provide effective levels of staffing to our ageing relatives. We
believe this will also be further enhanced by recommendations through the Aged
Care Royal Commission.
Disability Accommodation (SDA) exemplifies this small house model of care in
the community. The aged care sector can learn a lot from this model of housing
in order to create enabling environments, whilst having the intimate
accommodation we all crave. KPA has worked on many SDA projects over the last
12 months and this will continue to be an area where we will continue to
research and apply our learnings for many years.
We haven’t been
able to undertake site tours to other projects and developments this year,
which for any Architect, is always a source of inspiration and refreshing
thoughts. However, what we have lacked in visiting other buildings, getting
back to nature and rediscovering our beautiful state of Western Australia has
been tremendous. At the height of lockdown, I rediscovered and introduced my
children to the local national park where I grew up living next to in
Kalamunda. Getting back to nature is a valuable, calming resource that is
essential to a well-balanced life.
LI: What trends
are you seeing from building owners and developers looking to invest in Western
Australia as the economy recovers in 2021?
TP: Whenever a
recession hits, the basics of life come to the fore. Health, shelter, water,
food, and as we all discovered this time – toilet paper. So what we saw during
the pandemic was those basic survival requirements were protected as much as
possible to ensure we had access to them. Medical facilities, pharmacies,
hospitals and aged care facilities were given priority to ensure they had all
the resources required to protect the population. Housing was given funding
injections in a two-fold approach at both federal and state government levels
to help stimulate the economy and ensure people remained in work with
sufficient roofs over our heads. Water kept flowing off supermarket shelves and
the food economy went from being a potentially crippled dine-in experience to a
frenzy of take away experiences. Supermarkets were key to the food supply chain
and access to these were maintained throughout. From discussions with shopping
centre operators and retail clients we discovered there were more frequent, yet
shorter trips to supermarkets. This enables people to tap into the social
interaction they crave.
before, Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) has been a hot topic this
year and will continue to be so. We are helping owners and investors realise
the potential to enable people to live in their communities and we have the
expert knowledge required to guide them through this process. I am excited to
announce that we have done that by launching a new business this year called Habilitas.
Watch this space in the new year for more details.
LI: If you could
take a group of architecture students on a tour of Perth to three places, where
would the first three stops be?
TP: Stop 1 – Kings Park at dawn.
I have experienced many sunrises at Kings Park by going for early morning walks. Start in the dark and walk from South Perth, near Millers Pool, over the Narrows Bridge. Cross over Mounts Bay Road and walk to what is known as the Kokoda Track (try not to trip over!). Arrive at the top of the hill near the cenotaph and sit down near the eternal flame at the war memorial. Sit quietly and enjoy the calm that rests over the city of Perth, looking east beyond the hills of Perth. Then discover the amazing acoustics of the whispering wall, search for the name of the Architect who designed the war memorial (inscribed on the whispering wall) and discuss his role in World War One and his career as an Architect.
Stop 2 – Koh-I-Noor Contemporary Care, Wembley for lunch and a dance.
Here we will discover how contemporary aged care can nestle into the suburban street and be a part of the community. After taking a tour around, we’ll sit and sketch out some ideas that enable people to live as independently as possible in a caring environment. We’ll discuss what we have sketched with senior management and residents to get their thoughts on what we have learnt and discuss what we can do better in the future. We’ll enjoy lunch with the residents and introduce KPA’s very own John Loreck to play music, sing a song and have a dance with residents.
Last stop – Kalamunda.
This is the suburb I grew up in and
has influenced me so much. A village set amongst the trees, with main streets
full of activity and an eclectic, artistic bunch of people. Nature plays a
strong role in how we live and this is evident in the architecture of this
place. There are many unacknowledged examples of great Architectural work in
and around Kalamunda, from historical buildings through to modern, climate
responsive houses. A great way to finish the tour will be a sunset picnic
overlooking Perth on the Zig Zag drive.