Patrick Miller. Perth, Western Australia
Patrick Miller from Finespun is a mobile architect working in Perth and beyond.
Patrick grew up on construction sites in Melbourne before embarking on a career in drafting. He then took some time out from work to travel the world, and it wasn’t until his 30s that Patrick studied architecture.
This previous experience and the life skills he gathered along the way now inform his design work. “With my background in construction, I love stock standard materials that builders can grab off the shelf,” Patrick says. “I tend to stick to traditional building materials – brick, concrete, steel, timber and glass – and use standard sheet sizes to minimise waste.”
Patrick says sustainability was central to his work. “It is a natural outcome of understanding orientation, weather patterns and thermal performance of materials,” he says.
While many people’s first step when thinking about designing and building a new home is to look at aesthetics, as well as trawling through images in magazines and social media, Patrick’s advice was to put this step on hold. “The first step should really be to understand your site – where the sun is, location of trees and how weather affects your block,” he says.
“You also need to think about your lifestyle and what works for you.”
Regarding his design process, Patrick says he always started with hand drawings of the site and potential design solutions. For him, creating the best design outcome is like working on a puzzle. “As I sketch, I get to know the site and possibilities and the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. This is my favourite part of designing a home,” he says.
On the question of trends in Perth home design, Patrick’s view was that people were pursuing quality of life in their homes. “If you are spending your hard-earned money on your own urban oasis, it should enhance your life,” he says. As part of this idea, Patrick says he was seeing an increasing number of people embrace inner-city living and rethinking the meaning of home and community, where they had walking access to cafes, shops and public transport.
He also believes the way we work will have an impact on what homes will look like in the future. “The pandemic has accelerated the trend of remote working, and this will have an impact on future home design and the future development of Perth,” Patrick says.
He loves unique ideas and the challenge of treading new ground. A great example of this is one of his personal projects. “I am building a mobile office in a van so I can visit my sites and still be able to work while on the road,” Patrick says.