Greg Blanch recently joined the BDAV’s Committee of Management, filling a casual vacancy. That he does it while running two businesses is true testament to his commitment and passion for the profession and for the industry, so we thought it was timely to get to know him better.

Greg Blanch has been working in architecture since 1975, and has a broad, expert understanding of architectural practice, with a special expertise in the technical aspects of design development, documentation, and contract administration. He runs two successful businesses, Detail 3, which he established in 2003, located on the fringe of Melbourne’s CBD and, more recently, Mod 3, which has consolidated its collective talents on the Mornington Peninsula. Detail 3 collaborates with other architectural practices and brings Greg’s experience and expertise to the wider architectural community. As a result, the business has established an enviable reputation and is well known in the architectural community.

Q: What are your favourite projects that you have worked on, and why?

A: I’ve got a couple of businesses that have afforded many interesting projects. The larger city-based business Detail 3 does documentation and consultancy for other architects. Recent
memorable projects we’ve had the privilege of being involved in include 477 Collins Street (Olderfleet building) with Grimshaw Architects, VCCC with McBride Charles and Ryan, Yve Apartments and Abian Tower for Wood Marsh, Islamic Museum of Australia for Desypher Architects, and the new Duttons Showroom. The smaller and newer business MOD3 is focused on design at a smaller scale. We’ve done a couple of very nice houses on the Mornington Peninsula and are getting some lovely interior design projects. I love detail and working out how to put together beautiful and elegant small scale construction solutions.

Q: To date, my biggest business/design challenge has been?

A: Two projects that Detail 3 were involved in were Prima/Pearl Tower and Abode 318, both very large multi-residential projects. We were engaged as Principal Consultant on both and saw each through all phases including construction phase services. Prima ran for 5 years and Abode for 3.5 years. Incredibly demanding both mentally and fiscally. More recently the biggest shock has been opening up my smaller office MOD3 and getting it running smoothly. Very hard to get a business off the ground these days.

Q: My favourite finish is?

A: There are many finishes I like and many I’ve used on the projects with which I’ve been involved. Love timber, metals like zinc, rammed earth but particularly like good quality insitu concrete. Its plasticity, tactility, robustness, character, and aesthetic qualities are very hard to beat.

Q: The architectural style of the home I grew up in?

A: There were several. Nearly all mongrels I’m afraid.

Q: I joined the BDAV because?

A: Despite over 40 years working in architecture, the AIA seem to feel I am an unworthy aspirant (was that a sook?) and I feel it is very important to belong to a professional representative body, so the BDAV was the next obvious, and probably with the benefit of hindsight, more relevant choice. It’s very important to have a connection with and stay connected with your peers, to have opportunities to learn and acquire professional skills and connections. The continuing education opportunities are very necessary in order to stay current and knowledgeable. Most importantly, with the advent of significant changes to design software and resulting changes in the industry, our traditional work opportunities are changing rapidly, with new opportunities opening up. BDAV provides a well-placed forum to stay abreast of change and all things new.

Q: My favourite Australian building is?

A: No one particular favourite. Those up there at the moment would include Eureka Tower in Melbourne, National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, VCCC in Melbourne, SAHMRI in Adelaide, MU building in Melbourne, and Monash Uni LTB at Clayton.

Q: My favourite international building is?

A: Again, no particular favourite but the shortlist would have to include Fallingwater in Pennsylvania USA by Frank Lloyd Wright, the German Pavilion in Barcelona by Mies Van Der Rohe, Sagrada Familia in Barcelona by Antoni Gaudi, Louvre in Paris by I M Pei and others, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore by Moshe Safdie, so many others, so little time.

Q: My words of wisdom for a student building designer are?

A: Suck up everything, and maintain your passion. Look around and never stop learning. Find a good mentor.