post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-2272,single-format-standard,stockholm-core-1.0.8,select-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,select-theme-ver-5.1.4,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.0.1,vc_responsive

Staff Interview – Todd Paterson

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.

Specialist 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.

As mentioned 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.