Meet our people – Brychan Asaris, Senior Architect

Welcome to ARM, Brychan! Could you briefly share your background with us?

An Adelaide boy my whole life, I came from a big, mixed bag of a family. There was always a creative edge to my growing up, seeing remnants of artwork my parents and older brothers had created, and my mum always throwing herself into some sort of artistic hobby (her glass painting being the most prominent memory). I came into Architecture a little later in the game, having spent my early 20’s pursuing a career as an artist and photographer. Being heavily influenced by artist like Mary Martin and Richard Serra, I was always looking at how the shape and forms of things influence the spaces they are in. I really enjoyed creating these large, free standing monochromatic paintings, which always pushed the boundaries between what was a painting and what was a sculpture. So, the move over to Architecture was a natural progression for me and I honestly haven’t looked back.

What’s the most interesting building (or other piece of design) you’ve ever visited, and what did you love about it?

Not a specific building, but my trip to New Zealand recently really opened my eyes to how far behind Australia really is in First Nations engagement within the built environment. Even simple ideas like equal language signage seems like a struggle for us here and yet you can see how projects like Te Pae in Christchurch really thrive in the multicultural spirit.

You have a lot of experience in the education sector. What draws you to this area, and how do you believe architecture can impact educational outcomes?

A number of years ago I had the opportunity to work as teachers support (SSO) at low SES school in the north of Adelaide. Working one-on-one with primary school students who didn’t fit inside our traditional education pathways.

Being involved at the ground level gave me a good understanding of the challenges within classrooms, especially ones with special needs students. Working in these spaces made me realise that there really is a direction connection to the quality of the spaces and their learning outcomes. Most typical classrooms are set up for the “average” student and anyone outside of that seems to be rarely considered. It always amazed me at how teachers would have to ad hoc the classrooms to suit the needs of the students and I really wondered (and still do) if there is a better way. I have a deep seeded philosophy that good design should really be afforded to all, as our most vulnerable people are the ones who need it the most.

Adelaide’s unique environment, climate and culture offer many opportunities and challenges. What impact do you hope to have on the future of the city?

Last year I took over the role as chairperson for South Australia’s AIA committee ArchiEd, which is an initiative that looks to bridge the gap of teaching architectural concepts to younger people in our communities. My work in education has driven me to look for new ways to help our profession engage with students and help give them a voice within our industry. Allowing young people to have a better understanding of how they all have the ability to create a positive change in their environment and use their unique voice can help shape their worlds. We ran an amazing workshop last year as a part of the Nature Festival called Home Sweet Habitat. 20+ primary aged children and some amazing volunteers from a variety of industries (not just architects), all came together to look at how they could transform parts of the city to be a renewable paradise. My hope is that the work I am doing has a broader long-term impact on how we look at Adelaide and really push it to be an epicentre of good design for the future.