Sam Klopper. Perth, Western Australia
Like many of the architects I have interviewed, Sam's love of architecture and building started as a child. His dad was an architect and builder and he spent time working with him.
Sam recalls wanting to be an inventor, seeing the process of designing homes as invention – the idea of trying something new every time. “I love starting fresh with new clients and a new brief and the opportunity to come up with an inventive solution for every project,” he says.
In particular, Sam applies his inventiveness to sustainability. While passive design principles of orientation and shading are always the starting point, he also takes the opportunity to experiment with new ideas. One example is a recently completed project where he recycled all bricks, floorboards and window frames from the original house and reused them in the new home – which achieved an eight-star energy rating.
Another example is a current project where he is installing an innovative hydronic cooling system run by a solar-powered heat exchanger. In his own home, he installed a green roof, watered with recycled grey water, to help cool the home.
In addition to sustainability, another key element of Sam’s homes is he likes to make both the process and the outcome fun and engaging. “I always look for something unique about my clients to include in the design,” he said. “So in my own home I used patterned bricks to create Chinese horoscope artwork for my three sons (a horse, a dragon and a tiger), in acknowledgement of my wife’s Chinese heritage.”
In 2018, to celebrate 15 years as a practice, Klopper & Davis published a book. Looking back on the firm’s work, Sam said it was great to see the mid-century design aesthetic which has influenced its work is finally converging with current trends.
But Sam notes, “while many of us focus on the imagery of mid-century design, there is more to it. It is really the simple but clever planning which makes mid-century design endure”. This is what Sam focuses on.
Another characteristic of mid-century design applied by Sam to ensure his homes stand the test of time is the use of raw materials with limited painting. “Once the structure is up, the raw beauty of the home is in place,” he said. “We then rely on our artful interior design team to add softness – to contrast and complement the rawness of the architecture. Great buildings are a conversation of complementary ideas.”