We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the 1st prize winner of our "Office Design Challenge / Edition #2" competition – Claudia Takada from Australia!

Claudia Takada from Australia

A Sydneysider, I received my Master of Architecture degree from The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in 2017 and have been working in practice since 2016. My first role was at PTW Architects – a large commercial practice where I was introduced to the inner workings of the industry. This was followed by a role at Candalepas Associates which afforded insight into the intricacies of high-end projects. Presently, I’m part of the Sydney-based ClarkeHopkinsClarke Team – a certified B Corp practice where our focus is a collaborative approach to Community-based outcomes across a variety of sectors.

Brief information about the projects that you have been involved with. For instance, what scale have you focused on / preferred, any significant projects where the company / individuals have been involved?

My experiences within practice have been quite varied given the unique offerings of the trio of practices I’ve been involved with.  Fittingly, I’ve been involved in office tower projects as well as religious buildings, master planning, multi-residential housing, hospitality venues, retail developments, sports and recreational facilities such as an indoor action sports facility & artificial wave pool and, more recently a PassiveHaus. As unique as each of the briefs of such projects are, the knowledge accrued is always valuable for future projects with lessons (and opportunities) to be found in each one of them. It is why I enjoy the diversity of the field and why I feel like I’m an eternal student of architecture.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

I believe architecture at its core is there to serve the people who will occupy it so I believe the way they experience a space should be our focus when we design. I often think about a set of questions involving the sensory experience of space such as: texturally, how does it feel? visually, what can you see? How does the space feel holistically? By answering these questions I feel we can begin to create spaces that elevate the human experience of architecture. I think given the extensive history of architecture, we are also the temporary custodians and progressors of this cultural history and, our work can help to create a visual dialogue between the past, present and future.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

One thing I love is a challenge. And if it means I can do so in a creative way, even better!

Competitions are a unique platform in which you can test ideas and skills which you may not be able to test otherwise and, all with a deadline so you can reward yourself with a wine at the end - just like in the real world!

This specific competition seemed particularly relevant (and exciting) as I work in a typical office environment so to be able to critique such a space and ask: “what would I do different?” was an enjoyable process to work through.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture vision competitions?

I’ve experienced this! You just have to bite the bullet and do it! It must be said, there were many moments of questioning and self-criticism however, ultimately (as much of a cliché as it is), participating in an architecture vision competition can be a very rewarding experience and, (at least for me) a fantastic opportunity to test and express oneself outside of the professional working environment.


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