Andrew Hagemann. Perth, Western Australia
Andrew Hagemann is an architect who is proudly Western Australian. “Establishing a unique Western Australian architectural style has always been a goal of mine,” Andrew says . “My aim is always to create work that couldn’t derive from anywhere else in Australia.”
He sees WA’s environment, and therefore its architecture, as dramatically different from the east coast. “Here we are dealing with the blistering sun, sea breezes and an expansive landscape,” he says . For this reason Andrew uses “gutsy materials” in his work that respond well to WA’s environment and are low maintenance. “Integral structure and finish are the goals of our designs. The more natural the materials the more connected the design is to its environment and context.”
Andrew also has a strong interest in sustainability – both passive solar design as well as social sustainability. “Sustainability is more than just energy ratings for me,” he says. “It’s about creating living spaces that reflect the complex social models that exist in modern communities.”
In this regard, Andrew is seeing a trend towards intergenerational home design. “At the moment we are designing houses that are flexible over their lifespan to accommodate three to four generations of family members in the one home,” he says. “Due to housing affordability, we are finding children are living at home longer with their parents. The parents can age in place and the children can provide support.”
Mr. Hagemann’s advice for designing and building a new home is to have a strong idea of how you intend to live and how you think your family will evolve. “I like to get my clients to think laterally,” he says. “It’s not about what real estate agents think will sell, but about creating flexibility for the client’s unique situation. Everyone has a different way of living.”
When it comes to the design process, Andrew says the key was to really listen to the client to learn about the unique aspects of their life and family. This provides guidance on how to approach the design. So, in an intergenerational home for example, it may mean creating separate spaces for privacy, but also space where everyone can get together.
Mr. Hagemann’s favourite part of designing homes is the finish. “The building process is often stressful but the end result is always worth it,” he says. When the client has moved in, the boxes are gone and they have relaxed into the home, Andrew says he loves to catch up with them and talk about the home rather than the process.
“It’s a long journey but I always aim for my clients to end up with something unique and beyond what they would have expected, thus creating a sense of surprise and delight,” he says.