In Conversation: Johnathan Redman, Principal, FJC Studio

IN CONVERSATION

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Johnathan Redman is an architect that knows good design. Here, we deep dive into the collaboration between fjc and Coronation on our Charlie Parker project in Parramatta City and discover his passion for convergent design, the evolution of sustainability and the importance of partnerships that are truly ‘simpatico’. 

Can you share with us the core design principles that have shaped your creations and contributed to their widespread recognition? 

fjc is renowned for its commitment to design excellence, sustainability, and the enhancement of the public domain.  We are multidisciplinary, integrating architecture, interior design, urban design, landscape architecture and placemaking – the benefit of this is that our projects have a clear and unified approach.  This is particularly important for residential projects where the interiors, architecture, landscape and artwork are tied together with a common thread.  

We also focus on human centred design that considers the health and wellbeing of occupants and places that support a sense of welcome and belonging. In designing residences – whether apartments or houses – we consider what makes a place a home.  For multi-residential and Build-to-Rent, we look for ways to create a community or neighbourhood, creating connections through shared spaces and experiences. 

Our highly awarded projects evolve from a deep understanding of the uniqueness of place and culture and through open collaboration with the client and local communities.  We are also innovative with extensive experience in convergent design (using digital technology to collaborate and communicate) as well as specific expertise in building envelope design.  
 

How does the architectural merit implemented at Charlie Parker differentiate itself from your other projects? 

While some aspects of Charlie Parker can be seen as an evolution of design ideas associated with our studio, and as such is immediately recognisable as an fjcstudio piece of architecture, the inspiration for the building is centred around its unique location on the threshold between the Parramatta CBD and the Harris Park village and the needs and aspirations of local communities who will reside in this building. Charlie Parker is unique in: 

  • The agility to adapt the project in the face of a series of fundamental changes in residential market conditions, embracing new urban living models whilst maintaining the vision for the project.  
  • The understanding that completion of this type of residential building is only a milestone in the life of a building and that the building will adapt over time to cater for the needs of the residents.  

 

How did you approach the integration of design within the urban context of Charlie Parker? 

Urban context was a key inspiration. The physical context of the interface between the Parramatta CBD and Harris Park, the material quality is drawn from the traditional brickwork colours of Harris Park, the uninterrupted views to the east and south over parkland toward the river and Homebush and Sydney in the distance and the constraints of the site generating the curved and sculpted form. 

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How is sustainability reflected in the intricate design and architectural elements of Charlie Parker? 

Charlie Parker includes several notable initiatives and innovations to reduce the environmental impact of the building and support sustainable lifestyles over its lifespan. 

The curved terracotta coloured façade was developed specifically for this project using a low embodied carbon lightweight glass reinforced fibre plank system and mineral paint. The system is locally manufactured, is easy to work with on site and highly durable. These qualities allowed us to achieve a cost effective, sustainable, and durable façade that characterises the building. 

Access to sweeping views and the natural light offered by the site inspired us to strive to provide full height clear glass to all apartments. This has required detailed analysis to maintain strict energy efficiency requirements, balancing shading, extent, specification and location of windows and glass. The result is that these measures provide high levels of energy efficiency but do not impact the character of the apartments and their connection to the outside. 

High quality design has a valuable role to play in extending the life of buildings and reducing the lifecycle of embodied carbon. We strive for timeless design which will be valued and maintained by the residents and community for generations. We cannot guarantee this, of course, but every design decision made on the project is made with this goal and context in mind. 

Social sustainability and wellbeing form an important part of the sustainability picture, encouraging walking and cycling, integrating into, and supporting the cultural fabric of local businesses and communities and providing facilities which encourage community connections and wellbeing within the building are all initiatives born from considering the day-to-day lifestyle of the residents and the specific needs and aspirations of the local community. An extension of this is that the building will need to adapt over its lifespan, flexibility of the design to accommodate changing needs has been important and even occurred during the construction of this project.  
 

Describe the collaborative process between fjcstudio and Coronation Property and how this impacted your design process on Charlie Parker? 

fjcstudio has worked with Coronation Property on several distinctive urban living projects for more than a decade. Charlie Parker is the first completed project of this collaboration and, in our view, a milestone in the evolution of living within Australian cities. 

Throughout the entire process, we have admired the consistent commitment to the vision of the design and the project, the willingness to explore options to achieve this vision and the commitment by Coronation Property to ‘back themselves’ to make unconventional outcomes a reality.  

It’s evident the partnership between fjc and Coronation Property is characterised by mutual respect, open communication, and a shared commitment to achieving the highest standards of design excellence. Johnathan Redman not only knows good design - he champions it.