InterView – Brian Stratford

Brian has been a teacher at Bendigo TAFE for more than 20 years now. A practitioner in his own right and a dedicated educator he has developed curriculum for our industry and produced many a fine student. He is also the current Chair of the Victorian Advanced Building Studies Network.
Brian Stratford
Brian Stratford

1. What is/are your favourite project/s that you have worked on, and why?

One of the better projects that I have worked on was during my time at Planwise Design where we did a residential conversion of a three storey 1880’s building in the heart of Bendigo, tenanted to Aussie Disposals. Reinstating the old shopfront including two storey verandah with balcony took many hours of researching old photos, forensic investigation of old flashing cuts and interviews with local historians. We expanded the tenancy, created four inner-city apartments and squeezed in the required parking with excellent results.

2. To date, my biggest business/design challenge has been?

Teaching design rather than doing design can be challenging… it sounds easy, and some students are so eager to learn, but getting all students engaged and passionate about what they are doing is challenging but can also be rewarding. TAFE design students are really great, particularly if you need to have your work scrutinised and get some good unfettered feedback…!

3. My favourite finish is?

As a teacher I believe it is important to continue to practice. My partner and I have a little project at the moment (see image) where we are researching extruded porcelain as an external cladding. It is a little pricey but looking like a good solution at this stage.

4. The architectural style of the home I grew up in?

I grew up in an old Edwardian home in North Bendigo, long gone now but I have quite distinct memories of the buildings details; rough cast, fretwork, open fire place’s, dado’s and that internal volume, not the oldest house in the neighbourhood but just as bloody cold…

5. I joined the BDAV because?

We are very lucky to have access to an industry association like the BDAV. I joined as an individual back in 2004 while working for a local building designer in Bendigo. Being a member gives me regulation updates, regional and metro meetings, good support legally and having access to peers and general forum discussions. I have to admit that I did like the printed version of the BDAV News mag.

6. My favourite Australian building is?

It is hard to go past Glenn Murcutt (see YouTube: Glenn Murcutt talking heads). Simpson Lee House, Walsh House, simple but such detail.

7. My favourite international building is?

Some of the works by Oscar Niemeyer are pretty fascinating; Brasilia national congress hall, the cathedral of Brasilia, but the museum of Contemporary Art at Rio De Janeiro takes the cake.

8. My words of wisdom for a student building designer are?

To quote Glenn Murcutt “…every compromise they make represents the quality of their next client,”

9. When I was a child I wanted to be?

An Architect (close call…).

10. Outside of work, I am passionate about?

Family, friends, design…

11. At the moment I am reading?

Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability. David Holmgren

12. My life in 4 words?

Teach, Learn, Love, Dig