The Local Project – Studio AKA; also known as...
It’s a familiar acronym but the name implies something vital about how the architects at AKA Architects approach their architecture and design. To design well, they believe, the architect must play an entire cast of characters: The listener, the collaborator, the optimist, the accountant, the therapist etc. AKA’s principal architects are committed to the idea of holistic, client-centric design. Founders Amy Grundy and Kat Dujmovic say AKA’s approach “is not just designing a built object, it’s thinking about how people live as a totality”.
Since Kat & Amy partnered up in late 2015, AKA has strived to shed itself of the pitfalls of the public perception that the architectural profession has found itself in. The industry’s public image has been skewed by the ambitious “tortured creatives” who rudely inject their style directly into your new, shiny – and expensive – living room.
“A lot of people see an architect as an expensive luxury,” says Kat, “and that architects don’t cater towards people with a budget, or we’re going to come in and impose our ideas, and we’re going to impose on your choices. But that’s not what we do”
“What we do is take what the client wants, and how they live, and we mould it into something that is theirs. Not somethings that’s ours.” A client-centric approach is finding a design that will last the distance and is considered from the ground up to suit the client’s personality, choices and quirks. The client-centric architect will find ways to cater to a client’s needs on a minute and massive scale.
At AKA, this translates to having a tight-knit team of two engage with various design disciplines while closely guiding the project and the client. “Collaboration and sharing information is the only way to move forward… we’re all moving toward the same goal” emphasises Amy. “We enjoy working collaboratively and do our best work collaboratively, and that has to include the client, as well as trades and external expertise.”
Speaking to Amy and Kat, it’s clear just how excited they are about doing good work. AKA’s goal to reacquaint the average punter with good architecture and redefine what working with an architect means is exciting, to say the least. At most, it heralds the beginning of a humbler, more receptive era of architecture.