Brown Falconer is an innovative and versatile architectural practice with a knack for crafting dynamic, customised designs for clients throughout Australia. Over their long and storied history, they have worked in a multitude of sectors, including aged care, retirement living, allied health, and education. In recent years, they have branched out and developed additional expertise in the retail and urban design fields.
“We’ve expanded our sectors of work considerably, particularly into some new multi-residential projects in the CBD,” says Director Mario Dreosti.
To facilitate this increased workload, Brown Falconer recently upgraded their premises by relocating to a newly renovated office building in the Adelaide city centre.
“We’re in a really good place at the moment,” Mario says. “We’ve worked with our team to look at what aspirations we had in terms of where we wanted the business to go and the profile we wanted to have. Part of that is what drove us to change our location and move into the CBD. All of us are very excited by our new location and the projects we’re working on.”
These projects include several high-profile works for ongoing clients, such as the construction of a brand new facility for Resthaven − a well-known aged care and retirement living provider − in Port Elliot. Brown Falconer also recently completed several new retail-based town centre projects in Western Australia for Woolworths, which have been “very good for the practice.”
In particular, Mario also cites the recent Harvest Lakes Town Centre in Western Australia as a project he is especially proud of. The building was designed to “provide the retail comfort of a mall, but in a community based street front environment.” The development also involved the creation of a new main street bordering the town plaza for a residential subdivision.
Mario credits the company’s ability to earn these impressive projects to their stringent quality assurance measures. In addition to having ISO 9001 accreditation for their quality management system, Brown Falconer also subjects every project to peer review and discussion; every project benefits from the staff’s collective and combined knowledge and experience.
Brown Falconer also provides outstanding customer service, which bolsters their longstanding relationships with clients. Mario says the company strives to understand each client’s individual enterprise, and then works with them to develop customised design solutions that cater to their unique wants and needs while also withstanding “the test of time.”
“That’s probably the key difference,” Mario says. “It comes down to integrity and service. I think we see our work as relating to people who are often owner-occupiers or long-term investors, and so we have a long-term view with our buildings. When people see that happening, they feel comfortable committing to us on an ongoing basis.”
This exceptionally high level of personalised service has earned Brown Falconer a tremendous amount of repeat and referral business − so much so that the company is practically able to forgo advertising altogether.
“We don’t do very much advertising at all,” Mario reveals. “I believe that architecture is primarily about relationships with people, and so most of our work comes from referral or repeat business. In fact, 70 per cent of our work comes from repeat business and 80 per cent of the projects that we start actually end up being built. This means that we work with clients who have real projects rather than just speculative interest.”
Mario also indicates that these same principles are applied to their relationships with other stakeholders.
“There’s been a lot of talk in the media in recent years regarding collaboration and integrated design outcomes and such. That’s really the way architects have always worked,” he states. “We see other specialists in their fields as well as other stakeholders and user groups as being absolutely integral to a successful outcome.”
“I think it comes down to mutual respect and fairness. Oftentimes, the architect will be the lead engaged on a project, and we will actually then subcontract services to other consultants. We always do that on a fair and equitable basis, and we do that being very respectful of everybody’s expertise and input to get the best outcomes.”
As sustainability continues to increase in relevancy for Australia’s mainstream building industries, Brown Falconer has made the necessary adjustments to not only adhere to the generally accepted green standards, but exceed them.
“Sustainability is absolutely critical in all the design work that we do,” says Mario. “In fact, it’s interesting that the Institute of Architects is less specifically awarding sustainability these days as a separate category, but more as something that should be embedded into all categories of architecture. So all buildings, all development should intrinsically embed the principles of sustainability on a number of levels − not just environmental, but also social and financial.”
The company seeks to set the standard in the industry in terms of technology, as well. Mario explains that Brown Falconer prioritises staying up-to-speed on new technologies, particularly when it comes to computer-related drafting.
“We’re now a fully three-dimensional documentation and presentation office,” he proclaims. “We’re finding that we’ve developed the ability to very quickly generate high-quality visualization of our work, which is very, very beneficial because it allows our clients to understand how their buildings will function and see exactly what they’re getting.”
Moving forward, Mario says the company aims to consolidate the gains they’ve made in recent years, particularly in terms of delivering quality outcomes on key projects where they’ve had the “opportunity to do something really quite different and unique” for the practice.
“We’d like to continue to increase our profile in some of the more diversified project work that we’ve started lately,” he concludes. “We’d like to continue our presence in Western Australia in particular, where we’ve been working quite heavily. In addition to all of that, we want to achieve a good, enjoyable workplace and hopefully have a happy family life as well.”