Marcus Browne has a unique practice involving 2 distinct brands - Marcus Brown Architect and his modular design company “Mishack”.
Marcus is brutally honest when asked about how he became an architect. “In my young days my life was about surfing and playing in a rock band”, he says. “My parents told me they would support me if I went to university, otherwise I had to get a job. Going to university was more appealing because there was only 15 hours of lectures a week - so I could still go surfing and play in bands!” Fortunately for Marcus, once he commenced studying architecture he fell in love with it.
Like many architects, Marcus started his architecture career working mainly in large firms but found this involved more of the business of architecture than the art of architecture itself. “I started my own practice to be an architect in the true sense. To focus on the art form,” he says.
While Marcus sees architecture as an art form he is also a realist and understands that for many, if not most, of his clients cost is a major factor in the design process. It was the aim of creating cost certainty for his clients that led Marcus to set up the “Mishack” arm of his practice.
Mishack is Marcus’s modular design company with unique mid-century and modernist-inspired designs, which configure in a zone-system and use solar passive design. “The simple format of modular design means I can quickly develop project feasibility and budgets, knowing good aesthetic outcomes will be achieved", he says.
When it comes to advice to people looking at designing and building a new home, in addition to setting a realistic budget, Marcus always advises his clients to stay true to themselves. “I encourage my clients to stay true to their initial inspiration and not to be swayed by others”, he says. “Many of my clients are design savvy but lack the skills to bring their vision to life. My aim is to understand what they want to achieve and be inspired by them and their ideas. This is what drives my design aesthetic.”
Sustainability is key in Marcus’s work for both Mishack and his bespoke Marcus Browne Architect designs. “In my view, consideration of orientation and solar passive design should be standard for all homes”, he says. “I am always pushing for sustainability and learning as much as I can.”
Marcus’s favourite part of designing homes is site visits. “I love watching the character of the home emerge on site”, he says. “The other great thing about site visits is talking to the tradies and learning what’s possible to shape my detailing.” In Marcus’s view the trades don’t get enough credit. “Without them nothing would happen – you can’t get a good product without good trades.”