DARREN'S STORY

It began at age six. I’d spread my father’s car magazines across the living room floor, each open to the cars that most captivated me. I didn’t imagine driving them, it was their lines and shapes that fascinated me. Inspired to create my own, young, clumsy sketches would follow, page after page in my father’s unused invoice books, that I claimed as my sketchbooks.

 

If not drawing it was Lego, entire weekends spent sat on the floor, completely lost in my imagination, bringing that world inside my head to life.

 

It's safe to say, that designing, drawing and making, has always been so much of who I am. 

 

My passion for architecture followed soon after. At age 10, my dream of becoming an architect was born. 22 years ago that dream became a reality. In 2001 I started my own practice as a sole practitioner. The opportunity to explore my imagination and my love of architecture, still feels as exciting as it did to that little boy experimenting with Lego.   

 

In 2012, I wrote and illustrated a book to tackle an issue close to my heart - housing affordability and our misuse of space. A Block in a Hard Place was born from looking at properties for sale with my clients. I noticed how blocks for sale with obvious issues, sold for much less. However, these “issues” always presented in my mind, an exciting opportunity to create a unique design that worked around the site's limitations. From that, the book explored the varying difficulties and their work arounds, so that more people could afford a block of their own.  

In the last number of years I grew increasingly frustrated with being asked to create ever bigger homes with every conceivable luxury. Not aligned with the values I hold dear to my heart, I felt pain in being asked to contribute to the problems our cities already face - disconnection, urban sprawl and the excessive consumption or materials, energy and space. I want to use my passion for design to solve these issues, not create them.

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The change I wanted to be working on was not happening, so I decided to make it happen. I embarked upon creating a new, affordable, sustainable housing model. Downsized homes, with well designed, efficient use of space, for increased energy efficiency, affordability, and sense of community, via living closer together, with more shared external space and resources. This project is a significant undertaking and is still in the works. I hope to find people in which to collaborate and assist me bring it to the world. If you are such a person, please be in touch. 

 

Whilst all this was happening, new passions have been discovered and re-explored. When I studied at university, my lecture notes quickly left the lecturer’s information and moved to my designs of furniture. My so called lecture notes, were filled with these designs. That love for furniture has never left me. Five years ago I enrolled in an evening wood working class. What began as a hobby has become much more. I have discovered a love for bringing to life my own designs with my own hands. Having that direct connection to the tools and the wood feels so natural, a part of me that was always waiting to be discovered. I’m now embarking on making pieces to sell part time, whilst continuing my architectural work. 

 

In 2015, I began visiting high schools across Melbourne, to present on a career in architecture. I also run workshops in architectural model making. In doing so, I discovered a passion for engaging with students who are exploring their love of design and where it might take them. I thoroughly enjoy my chance to inspire these young creators, towards this career, I have always loved. 

 

That’s me, architect, teacher, furniture maker, and design lover.

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