Another chapter of a classic story

Anthony MatteoThe West Australian
Custom build designed by Rietveld Architects and built by Zorzi in Dalkeith.
Camera IconCustom build designed by Rietveld Architects and built by Zorzi in Dalkeith. Credit: JOEL BARBITTA.

With a longstanding passion for creating unique and contemporary designs – not to mention having a renowned architect as his stepfather – it comes as no surprise that Rietveld Architects Principal Architect and Director Mark Rietveld has designed some of Perth’s most iconic homes.

“Having Peter Overman as my stepfather meant architecture was always going to be a natural progression for myself,” he said.

“He would often bring home his raw designs and, after dinner in the evenings, take the time to elaborately explain how the designs had evolved.

“He would do this as he lavishly embellished the designs with watercolours and personal touches, ready for the clients to view the next day.

“In doing this, I was mentored from an early age in the basics of what constituted good design, how design developed and how to present architectural concepts in a manner which people would appreciate.

“My stepfather’s mentoring provided the framework and confidence I have as an architect.

“Today with Rietveld Architects, we are on another chapter but the ethos of my stepfather still permeates.”

Mr Rietveld said his projects were always created with the intention of being both timeless and original.

“My stepfather used to say, ‘if you can recall a particular feature of a home afterwards, then you have failed’,” he said.

“Good designs work due to the harmony they create – they avoid being reliant or focused on strong individual features that, in all likelihood, will fade and diminish over time.

“In achieving harmony and balance in a home, you create the ability for it to make you feel good.

“Great architecture should be uplifting to live in every day.”

With no individual project being straightforward, Mr Rietveld said it was this challenge he and his team faced that made them always look forward to their next project.

“Few projects are perfect to commence with and many are challenging in some manner,” he said. “While we all want amazing sites, a large budget, easygoing clients and a perfect brief, it rarely happens.

“In fact, sometimes these can be the least rewarding, as they did not have the same challenges to overcome.

“As an architect, I feel we view our successes sometimes in the context of the challenges we overcame.”

In a constantly evolving industry, Mr Rietveld has noticed the industry’s adoption of three-dimensional design to provide clients a more user-friendly experience of previewing their home.

“The days of my stepfather’s freehand sketches are long gone,” he said. “Today we have the means to present a realistic depiction at a very early stage and are no longer limited to a single sketch.

“We can now create multiple renderings in-house or animated videos that clients can view in person, in virtual reality or online.

“We also have the prevalence of home design shows, online apps and sites dealing with all matters of design, which has exposed everyone to an endless array of images, choices and ideas.”

Acknowledging the armchair experts, Mr Rietveld said it was the knowledge and understanding that his team of architects had which resulted in some truly amazing outcomes.

“I am a believer in engaging with my team, the client and other professionals when designing,” he said. “It doesn’t mean I have to entertain everyone’s thoughts and ideas, or lose my own, but to deny hearing other perspectives is paramount to ignorance.

“Some of the best outcomes in my office have been through the way we collaborate as a team.”

With supply shortages and higher trade costs posing challenges and uncertainty, Mr Rietveld said homebuilders should go in with a realistic understanding of the costs and timeframes.

CONTACT Rietveld Architects, 6500 0328, www.rietveldarchitects.com.au

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