Innovative Design the Baltinas Way
WA Business News
19 August 2010
Boutique architecture and design firm Baltinas Architects says its commitment to original, modern design is not an attempt just to be noticed in the market, but is instead reflective of the opportunities on offer throughout the metropolitan area.
The firm is responsible for some landmark buildings across Perth, and began making a name for itself with the Miami Apartments near Kings Park in 2001.
Soon after, managing director Barry Baltinas was awarded the Property Council of Australia’s Young Achiever award for 2002.
In 2008, the firm cemented itself as a leader in innovative design with its art-deco inspired Kingdom Apartments in South Perth.
The firm’s latest project, a 20-storey apartment building at 5 Barrack Street, aims to set the standard for innovative contemporary architecture in the inner city with a unique exoskeleton design, a feature that has drawn opposition from the proposed development’s neighbour, the 139-year-old Weld Club.
Although the City of Perth’s planning committee ultimately approved the design, committee chairwoman Judy McEvoy said the design had “no respect” for the neighbouring heritage-listed building.
Despite the concerns, Mr Baltinas said innovative architecture should be encouraged, particularly in the inner city.
“We have a respect for the old, but at the same time we are unapologetic with our contemporary approach,” Mr Baltinas told WA Business News.
“All buildings around the world, architecture that is challenging has been met with both appreciation and hostility.
“It invokes a reaction, and sometimes if you invoke a reaction then you’re doing something right.
“Today’s architecture should be designed to be relevant to today’s society and context, and if that’s carried out truthfully it will never date, and in time it will become heritage architecture.”
Along with commercial and residential building design, Baltinas is active in the interior design field, specialising in bar design.
Baltinas was responsible for the transformation of Subiaco’s Under the Sea nightclub into Gold Bar, as well as the Court Hotel refurbishment, and is currently undertaking the design of Carnegies’ new rooftop bar, The Conservatory and a revamp of Subiaco nightspot Sapphire Bar.
Baltinas is also formulating a design for Bar Vinyl, a proposed nightspot to be built in the basement of Hay Street music store 78 Records, and a new small bar in Wolfe Lane, which will be completed within the next month.
Mr Baltinas said designing a hospitality venue was particularly challenging, as a typical bar had a much shorter lifespan than a commercial or residential building.
“It is a bit more fashion-orientated, and similar to clothing labels and fashion design in a way,” he said.
“Functionality is a very big part of any design. As the old saying goes, form follows function, so you need to understand how bars function so they can operate successfully, feasibly and so that they remain viable.
“There’s no point doing something that just looks great, because if it doesn’t work it’s not going to last long.
“That’s our challenge, to come up with something that’s unique, different and innovative, but it’s on a whole different scale and at a whole different pace to a large building.”