Episode 93 - Putting all your effort into something you absolutely love with Gary Windiate from Windiate Architects

June 15, 2023
Episode 93 - Putting all your effort into something you absolutely love with Gary Windiate from Windiate Architects

Aaron Kyle 0:00
Gary from Windiate Architects here in Melbourne. Welcome to Build Hatch.

Gary Windiate 0:03
Nice to meet you, Aaron. Thanks for having me.

Aaron Kyle 0:05
That's all right. We always like to talk to our guests and go back to the history and how they got into your profession. Now. You're an architect here in Melbourne. So where did you grow up? What was sort of childhood life like?

Gary Windiate 0:19
So I was born in England, and I lived in England for a while. It's just coming up to half my life. Now I moved over here when I was 2524 25. And so growing up was was great things back then was simple. Yeah, it was. There was no real issues. You know, school was normal, local, comprehensive school, nothing too fancy or complex, hanging out with mates after school, building things. Just being outside going for rides, bike rides, we lived in an area where they had some quite a bit of open area. So wasn't necessarily countryside, but it was about 60 kilometres southwest of London. Yeah, and it was just what I would consider very normal.

Aaron Kyle 1:09
Now, how often would you go into London from there?

Gary Windiate 1:14
Very rarely. So I asked, yeah, I think my first trip to London, I was about 16. Plus Up, which was quite an adventure, and to the Big Smoke on the bus, about an hour and a half, I had a few stops along the way. And you took a sandwich and a drink and your mates and it was kind of the big suitcase.

Aaron Kyle 1:39
It's funny, isn't it? How it's different?

Gary Windiate 1:42
Yeah, and everything seems to be much more accessible nowadays. Whereas back then it wasn't. And we didn't really look for the big adventure. You know, we're very happy where we were had a lot of friends. And yeah, just hanging out at Friends places was loosely key, but uh, hanging out outside, which I think the kids nowadays miss a lot of that.

Aaron Kyle 2:04
Yeah, for sure. Now, did you always know that you were going to be an architect?

Gary Windiate 2:09
I did. And, and people find that very hard to believe. But I think I think when I was very young, I wanted to be in the army. When I got to high school, I had a passion for cooking, and drawing and art. And then my parents engaged in architecture do an extension to the house that we had. And I just loved the drawings he did, I was fascinated by the technical aspects of the drawings. And from that moment onwards, I thought I wanted to be an architect. And towards the end of school, I was a bit unsure whether I because I still love cooking. Or I had this realisation that I couldn't be an architect part time or on the weekend, but I could cook for enjoyment. So I chose architecture as a profession. And I just decided that I could always cook and do cooking for enjoyment. Yeah, right. But I find both the professions very similar. They both doing things for other people. You know, when you're cooking, you're creating a meal for somebody, when you're designing a home, you're creating a home for them. So that they're very similar in that respect, both creative. So, you know, I like both. However, at the end of school, sorry, the end of school, I failed my exams, because the last year of school was all about it. I started to just have fun, I realised that life was a bit more about having fun and friends and and then failing the exams was a big reality check. And it was like, right, I can't do architecture anymore. So my parents said to me, Well, what do you want to do? And they thought, well, I'll be a graphic designer because that's artistic. And then I thought to myself now I don't I don't want to settle. I don't want to settle for being something that I don't necessarily want to be. So I retook my exams in a year, pass them and then went on to uni.

Aaron Kyle 4:06
Interesting story there. Now, if I unravelled a bit did you have so did you have to do the exams like 12 months later? Like?

Gary Windiate 4:15
Yeah, I had to read I had to take another course at not at the school where I was studying my A levels, because in the UK, you do a levels. And that's your final exams. So I ended up going to a technical college for a year to do to like TAFE in Australia or something. Yeah, yeah. Would be an RA levels are similar to your HSC or is that

Aaron Kyle 4:38
yeah, VC? VC HSC. Yeah, depending on which state but also, one of the great things we have here in Australia is they sort of call it typically open foundation. So for those that don't want to do a trade, become a chef or hairdresser or or tradesmen or trades woman. They, they can obviously do open founder ation, which is an alternative way of getting into uni. And that's great because there are so many people like yourself where they're just, I don't know, school sometimes just isn't designed for some people like it just doesn't fit everyone's mould. Even today like I still think there's so many different aspects to it where you sort of do find yourself particularly kids homework, I reckon like you do find yourself thinking, is this really relevant? Like, would I prefer my child to be learning a little bit more? Either practical or realistic? Professional type learnings? Yeah. So it's interesting. I think most people who, who then go back and do that extra course, they find themselves doing a lot better. Is that Is that what you found?

Gary Windiate 5:43
I totally agree. I think if I had gone to university at the age of 18, I would have probably failed, because I wasn't mature enough to take the study seriously. And I would have jumped into university and then I would have gone Oh, my gosh, this is hard work. Because we were in uni nine to nine till one every day doing lectures like physics, planning, history, plumbing, all those things. And then in the afternoon, from two till six, we were expected to be in the studio drawing, designing and doing that that side of things. And that was for the full five years, it never let up. And it only got harder and harder. So if you didn't love it, we saw people drop out, because they just kind of went, I don't want to put this much effort in something that I don't absolutely love my eldest stepdaughter as well, she did a different path through her high school. And it's only now she's coming up to being 21. And she's decided to go back and study nursing. Because she's just tried a few things. And I think she's been a little bit concerned about or what happens if I don't like it. And it's a case of, well, if you don't like it, you don't have to do it. Don't get stuck in a job just because you feel you need to, you've got to find a passion and something that really drives you and, and you know, hopefully that you'll love, because if you love it on the hard days, they're not that hard. And you can get through the hard days, if you love your job, if you don't like the job and you have a hard day becomes very difficult.

Aaron Kyle 7:17
Yeah, that's right. And I particularly love lifelong learning. And I'm a big advocate for that where, you know, just because you do a particular trade or profession doesn't mean you're locked into it for life. And you've, you get to 30. And you realise, oh, Jesus should have done that you can just continually evolve and learn throughout your whole life. Really?

Gary Windiate 7:36
Yeah, no, I totally agree. And to that end, I'm like, I've always wanted to be an architect, and I love being an architect. But just recently, I've started to do my certificate three fitness, just because I like fitness. And that will lead to I can help out at the local gym, or I do boxing, and help out with their classes just because I like it. I'm not going to give up my career and take that as a as a new career. But I want to do it because I enjoy it. And it's another aspect. And another another string to my bio as it were.

Aaron Kyle 8:14
Yeah, that's right. Look, I love it. Like I said, so. Alright, so you completed all your studies over in in the UK. And then what happened?

Gary Windiate 8:24
Well, what so in the UK, you study a three year degree, and then you do a year in industry as a placement year. And then you go back to the post grad diploma. There. My industry year ended up being out here. My industry year was in 94, when there was a bit of a recession around the world. Nobody in the UK was hiring. I applied for businesses all around the worlds and I ended up meeting an architect who had a large company here. And he also had a company in the UK. And so while he was in the UK, he asked me to come up and meet him. And so I went up and had a I thought it was just a meeting. It's kind of it ended up being an interview. And he said, I'd like to offer you the placement year and I thought to work in the London office. And then he said so when can you get out to Melbourne. And I think my jaw dropped. And I kind of went, right. Okay, I'm going Australian embassies just down. They're going to get the paperwork, bring it back here. We'll start filling in the forms and we'll we'll get it all in place. And next thing I know I'm filling in forms and getting visas and stamps and stickers in my passport and on a plane out here with a backpack and that was it. That was the beginning of my journey.

Aaron Kyle 9:39
That's amazing. Yeah. So plumbing, was it daunting?

Gary Windiate 9:49
No, I'd never I'd never been I'd been to Europe into France and Italy, but I'd never been this far. But it's interesting. I wanted to come to Australia for many years. Having grown up with home in Hawaii and neighbours. And I saw Australia as America but without all the clutter. And so when I got on a plane, I think I was more excited than nervous. And I was met at the airport by my boss's daughter, who I'd met in London, and a friend, another friend and their friend had a place a room in their house. So he said, all that you can stay with us until you kind of find your feet and work out what you want to do. And I ended up living there for a year in Richmond, made lifelong friends, and still keep in touch with them now, and John actually flew over to the UK for my wedding or to France for my wedding five years ago, because he now lives in Europe. And Adam and Paul and Clive are still great friends living here in Australia,

Aaron Kyle 10:58
Wow. That must have been like a hell of an adventure to you know, just landing and then getting to know Iran and very daunting.

Gary Windiate 11:06
it was very much so but I'm very much the sort of person that just kind of gets out there. And I've got no problem talking to people. And you know, I would go and meet somebody, and then we would meet their friends and we go to a party or a dinner, and I'd stop chat to somebody else. And they invite me somewhere else. And, and then all of a sudden, I've got I left here after a year having established quite a wide friendship group, which was, which was great. And some, like said, some quite a few I still keep in touch with now, you know, nearly 25 years, nearly 30 years on.

Aaron Kyle 11:42
Now, tell me about we Windiate Architects How did that sort of transpire?

Gary Windiate 11:48
I moved there here permanently in 1998. After working in the UK for a bit and realising I just didn't, I didn't fit there. I think when I came to Australia, I missed my family and friends when I was in back in the UK, I missed Australia and I miss Melbourne. So I came over here in 98. Worked for three large practices over a period of time till about 2004 or five. And then I started to do a little bit of work with a friend of mine, just on the site just because we wanted to do a couple of small projects. And then we started to think a bit more seriously about going out on our own. And then in 2007, I'd been suffering from back problems. And then in 2007, I decided it couldn't I couldn't do any more. And I had to have back surgery. So at that point, I couldn't commit to the the office I was working for and I couldn't give my all to them. So I decided have the back surgery. And then during the recovery of the back surgery, and I set up my setup or started working kind of part time with my friend. And then after being doing that for about a year, we both decided we wanted different things out of it. So in early 2008, I decided some own business, just at the time when my partner at the time was pregnant with our son. So I had a newborn on the way

Aaron Kyle 13:20
plus the GFC looming.

Gary Windiate 13:26
And started my own business because I realised I didn't want to go back to work for somebody else. I wanted to have flexibility for my family. I wanted to be there. When my son was born, I wanted to be involved in in his early years and didn't want to go out to work and necessarily be come back and miss that. So the I think the main reason was starting my own business was having flexibility. It certainly wasn't the drive of money, it was to drive and flexibility. And doing my own projects, the smaller projects that I've moved away from working with other people, the businesses that I've worked for two very large practices here in Melbourne. And one was a small practice. So that grew while I was there for five years. And they've moved away into bigger, bigger developments, bigger projects. And I really missed that hands on approach that we had with the clients and and dealing with the mom and dad clients and you know, their family and knowing their kids and understanding how we're going to create this beautiful home for them that they'll use and they'll appreciate.

Aaron Kyle 14:32
Yeah, because I mean for people listening to this when you're working in large sort of commercial practices, where the architectural documentation for multi storey buildings and large commercial project, like it's kind of I won't say boring, but it's it's not really in touch with why you typically would get into the profession in the first place. You know with that creativeness and dealing with clients and taking spaces and valuating. And all that sort of stuff isn't like it's just monotonous documentation. And it's, it can be quite intense really,

Gary Windiate 15:10
they can be, you could be stuck on a large building, just drawing up and detailing facades or toilet partitions, or wall types. And it can be soul destroying, really, you know, it can really suck the life out of you. And, you know, I think small practices taught me that you need to be across all aspects. And you kind of just dig in and get stuck in like, you know, on the on the director and the owner of the business, but I'm still drawing, I'm still putting to the window schedules, I'm still putting together elevations and working on things. Because how I do my meetings with clients are very much interactive. And I'll be designing and drawing and sharing my screen and creating things on the screen and live with my clients. And that's something that came out of COVID, which was a great takeaway for me, because I don't know, I no longer sit down with clients and a pencil and paper and sketch things up and then go away and test it. And well, that didn't quite work and come back and do it again. And all that didn't quite work. And then you go back and do it again. And you have a lot of that tooing and froing. And time. So COVID really taught us to be time efficient. And my clients really love the being involved in that designing because they'll say things like, Well, how about we move that while it's moving? Or it doesn't work? Well, that's going to clash with the door, or that toilet is going to clash with something or if we do that the shower is going to be above this room, which is going to be called problematic. We'll have to need a beam there, that's going to be an issue, you know, and they can see these things evolving in real time. So they really appreciate and get an understanding of, of what and how we do.

Aaron Kyle 16:57
Yeah, look, it's so true. And I, I can sort of tell you that kind of guy that loves taking spaces and value adding so tell us like, is that something that you love doing? Like clients coming to you and saying, well, this doesn't work? Like how do you make it work?

Gary Windiate 17:14
I suppose I see it as a puzzle. I look at every job as a puzzle. And I start from I've always been one to not necessarily Well, I suppose I understand budgets, but I can't control budgets. I say to my client, I have clients come to me and say oh, that we think we want to renovate this and we've got this amount of money. Do you think that's viable? And I will now say to them, if you'd have asked me this 18 months, two years ago, I could have probably given you a fairly good estimate. But now it's very difficult. I look. So I'm but I've always been one to start, regardless of the budget, I've always been one to try and drill down with my clients and understand what's important to them. There. And I say this to all of my clients, there's buckets, there's buckets for everything. There's buckets of money for should have could have would have one need, maybe do I downtime, you know, my husband wants my wife wants my kids want. And it's about trying to put things in those buckets, and then work out what's important. How do you, you know, for one client, the laundry trough was important. For another client, it was how far they went into the garden was important. For another client, it was a particular view and an aspect from one of their windows that was very important. And so everybody's got the something very different. Yeah, so understanding what's important for them, and what what their needs are, and helping them understand it. Because most clients have got a whole lot of information in their head. And they just don't know what to do with it. And so I see my job is distilling that information and, and helping them unravel their faults, and bring to the party, my expertise and my thoughts. And we've got some great ideas from clients, and they've got some great ideas from us. And I'm not I'm not the sort of architect that will sit there and, and dictate my vision. You know, my vision is a shared vision, their vision is a shared vision. And it's it's working together to get the right result. And I've had clients to say all that, well, can you draw us up a few options. And my response to that is that's not how I work. I don't give you three or four options and then you choose the option you like, I come up with something that I think fits your brief and fits your budget and fits the way you want to live in the house. And from there we continually refine it. You know, we don't just come up with a concept draw it up. Thank you very much move on to the next time. It's a continual evolution of the process and we change In things right up to the point where they might move in and not changing for change sake. But I always say to my clients, don't be scared of making a change on site. But just talk to me about it. And we'll understand whether that has a time or a cost implication. You know, if you feel that something is not right, you need to speak up. And we enter into this relationship, which what it is and with a with a good sense of open communication and trust, and I want my clients to be able to say to me, Gary, I just either just don't understand it or don't get it. Okay, we'll give you more information to help you understand until you do understand it. Or even if they say, Gary, I, it's just not for me, I understand where you're going with this. But, but I don't like that, or I don't want that. And I'll say that's perfectly fine. I'm okay with that. Let's work to something that I still think works. Because I'm not here just as a drafting service, or to just draw up what you want me to draw up. However, if you really want something that I don't think, is the probably the appropriate thing to do. I'll give you all that information. And if you still want to go ahead with it, that's okay. We'll do it.

Aaron Kyle 21:17
Through that process?

Gary Windiate 21:18
Absolutely. You know, I see my job is giving them all the information that they need to be able to make a considered decision. And then once they know they've made that decision, they go, Well, I feel comfortable making that decision, because Gary has given me all this information. All the pros and cons, I've weighed it all up. And although Gary said he felt this way was a better way, I'd like to go this way. And I'll accept that, you know, it's their money, it's their home, I can only give them my years of experience as to why I would do it or wouldn't do it. And it's really up to them to say whether they want to want to accept that or don't.

Aaron Kyle 21:55
What's it like when you have a client who's sort of says, Oh, this is what we want? And then Gary comes along, thinks about their brief what, what they want to utilise that space or do with it, and then you do something and aren't saying necessarily expecting but do you know what I mean? Like, it must be a pretty cool feeling. Because I've been a part of that myself. When when you think you know something and you think you know what you want. And then an architect comes along, manipulates that idea or manipulates that space or manipulates probably the wrong word influences that that creation and then you kind of think you've got exactly what I wanted.

Gary Windiate 22:38
It's great. Yeah, it is great. And but I think it's manipulating feeling manipulate the space, I think is the right choice of words. And influence the clients and change, help them open up their mind and expand their thinking. And it is great. And just recently, I can't remember the exact thing. But that happened and the clients went, do you know why I didn't think of that. And I came to you with this in mind. And you just opened up these possibilities. And it's fantastic. Because what we've got now is, is so much better than what we thought we would have. And it's what it's it's what we thought we probably could have, but didn't think we could get it if that makes sense.

Aaron Kyle 23:22
Yes, yeah, that's a good way to put it. What's sort of currently emerging at the moment, like in in spaces, and cool sort of projects and things like that.

Gary Windiate 23:32
All right now, I think is trying to make projects viable. I think in a really volatile construction industry, with escalating costs and money, you know, money boring. I think it's the most complex thing at the moment is to try and make projects viable and manage clients expectations, because what people expect they can get for 300 is probably costing them now. 500. And the smaller projects are becoming really, really hard. I wouldn't say impossible, because I love a challenge. And if somebody's got a bucket of money, there is a way of spending that money on something. It's just trying to work out how best they can spend that and how I approach all of our projects here is very much what's the least amount we can do to gain the maximum result for the money. The clients are acceptable. Not necessarily always happy, but acceptable to spend.

Aaron Kyle 24:41
Yeah, it's a good way to put it. Yeah. And I also think, too, it's also like I know a lot of builders who are having to do a bit more groundwork like not necessarily more groundwork than what they used to but we're now back in normal territory in inverted commas where You know, for, you know, light, probably up until about October in 2022, the price that you gave was was the price that you gave. And that was kind of, you know, that was expected, whereas now it's, it's about doing the groundwork, it's about not take not accepting that lazy pricing methodology. It's, it's having input. And and I, you know, I still think the preferred ways is architects dealing with builders from the early stages and having their input and trying to get them on board to be able to also influence the project and help out as well. Do you agree with that?

Gary Windiate 25:38
I agree with having the builder on board early for sure. Or not necessarily agreeing in that I think things are back to a kind of normal, I still see a lot of escalating prices. And I'm still seeing a lot of how you put it lazy estimating and lazy pricing from builders, not because they're lazy, but they're very time poor.

Aaron Kyle 26:01
Exactly. When it sorry, when I mean, just to clarify when I mean, normal, I mean, like before COVID, you would go out and get multiple prices, you would shop around, you'd have multiple trades competing, you would have multiple materials and lawyers, you know, in the last three years, you know, because of constraints and and issues and being time poor, like you said, it's kind of like, I'll just get one supply price from that person and that you didn't want I mean, we're back to normal, trying to have to work to make it work.

Gary Windiate 26:33
Yeah, I think with all of the builders that we are working with and have worked with, I don't think they've changed their approach pre COVID, during COVID, post COVID. I think where they've seen differences is the trades have become exceedingly busy, and the trades don't have time to quote. So I think it's a tear down from the builder. And I know I speak to a lot of builders regularly that we work with. And just to touch base every couple of months, I'll ring around and see how they're going and how they think the industry is going. And everybody thought this year would be a better year, everybody thought last year would be a better year. But with the trades being busy and a shortage, I think there's a real shortage of labour in this country at the moment with migration. And we've lost a lot of labour and haven't picked up that labour in the workforce in the construction industry to make the labour that is here be competitive. And I still don't think that's there. I know the builders, I'm speaking to recently saying my my joiner just doesn't have time to price it. So I've just put in a lump sum of money that I think it will be. And I've just got a hope that it comes in at that sort of price. But I think by that, then builders are factoring in a fair amount of fat to cover themselves because they have been caught out over the last 12 to 18 months. And that's driving up prices to a point where we had four projects last year, either pause, stop, or change to be a much more much smaller project from a lot on, you know, a smallish renovation extension project to a new kitchen or to a new bathroom. And then And my point for my house as well. I've been renovate I was looking to renovate my house and extend it and I had drawings ready early last year, couldn't find the builder to price it. And now I reckon the price is probably 40% over where I want to pay. So I've gone back to drilling down what do I need out of my home? What what do I need? Not what do I want? And I think the last six months, pro the projects are going ahead with people that need to renovate people that wanted to renovate and not renovating people that wanted to extend or just doing a new kitchen and a new bathroom. And I think those that need to renovate, they've been living in a really rundown home or a house that they just hated for a long time and their bathroom. They put their foot floor through the bathroom floor. And this is now a need they need to renovate. And they're the projects that we're seeing at the moment there. We're not seeing projects where live we'd love to have a nicer backyard, open kitchen living dining area. We'd love to have that spare room when guests come over. They could say you know now it's like I've been sick and tired of living in this house, my kitchen working from home. My husband now needs a home office. My wife now needs a home office. We both now need a home office.

Aaron Kyle 29:40
Our kids can't afford to rent you know

Gary Windiate 29:44
that's that's where it's that's where it's going to hit. I look at house prices and I think How the hell am I kids going to be able to afford to buy a house but also my eldest stepdaughter who doesn't live with me. She's bought into a TV allotment where she's put down a deposit in the hat that this apartment building will be built, she'll move in, and she'll pay rent for the next X years. And that rent goes off to paying off the cost of the apartment. So at the end of it, she then owns this little one bedroom studio apartment. And I think that's a great idea for young people to get into the market and have a bit of property. And then they can leverage off that later, they can go travelling, they still got somewhere here, they can rent out, they've got a base they can use. And later on, when they meet a partner, they've got a property that they can sell to be able to move something, you know, then start getting their foot on the ladder.

Aaron Kyle 30:38
Yeah, it's definitely opening up some creative opportunities. And that's, that's, that's what happens in any industry, you know, it has to happen otherwise, yeah, I say this all the time leaders will lead and if people don't, well, you know, you're just accepting the status quo. And it does create opportunities and, and out of, you know, challenges in the industry. There'll be plenty of designers and architects and builders and trades who will still flourish, because like I said, the they're trying harder, or they're the they have access to good trades or good clients as well.

Gary Windiate 31:15
I think it was Winston Churchill that said, don't waste a good crisis. Yeah. And out of adversity, you can get some great results, I certainly know now that there are builders that I've been working with that have come out of COVID better, because they're now more streamlined, they're now more processes in place. And that has taught them to be more efficient. And with efficiency comes profit.

Aaron Kyle 31:40
Yeah, 100% I love talking about things like that, because I totally agree, it's, it is about being efficient, and you know, squeezing more juice out, lemonade out of lemons, like, it's just absolutely trying to be as efficient as possible. Just like clients need to be efficient, you know, if you can, if you can deliver them an efficient construction model and design model, you know, from meeting with them through networking, like it's the whole process from go to Oh, really.

Gary Windiate 32:13
Yeah. And if we, you know, the things that we learn with our continual professional development, which is something we have to do as an architect here in Victoria, it makes you look into new products. But sometimes new products can bring with it a cost. And something I learned from one of my old bosses was how to use normal materials in an interesting way. And if you use normal materials, and interesting way, some simple out of the box thinking with detailing, all of a sudden, you've got a great result, and it hasn't cost you any more. You know, we've done a couple of bathrooms where we've used why tiles, but we've mixed the white tiles with some of in gloss and some of them matte. So you get this slight pattern across the wall. Now it hasn't cost you any more because the tiles are the same and the tile is still laying same amount of tiles. But on certain light in a certain aspect, you get a different sense of depth in what would ordinarily be a white wall.

Aaron Kyle 33:10
So true. Do you have like a favourite sort of product at the moment or material that you just love, love using as an architect?

Gary Windiate 33:18
Look, I love using wood. Just because I like tactile materials. And I think over the years I've learned how to use wood carefully and not. So there's certain if you've got some wood, you've got to maintain wood. So when you're using wood, you've got to think of it as a product that you're going to have a relationship with for the rest of your life, the rest of the time you're living in the house. So if you're using a nice wood cladding, you've got to be able to maintain it. There was a house we use which was one of my favourites in Hampton where we used wood cladding on the first floor. But we use wood cladding on the first floor because we knew our clients were never going to maintain it. And it was always going to go grey and now it's gone this beautiful timber grey colour sitting on top of black and black brick house space, and the house and it just looks sensational. And they use timber on the first on the ground floor sort of timber. It was a Black Buck planning and they use black but decking and on the ground floor, but they maintain that. So the first floor is this beautiful grade off blackbutt timber box. And the ground floor is a very beautiful, maintained really rich depth of black bar. And the balance of that works really well. Again, we've used some black bricks as a almost a plinth to the building.

Aaron Kyle 34:44
Yeah, look, I I agree I love the raw materials and like you said it's about that long term relationship. You know, it's not just this is how it's going to look from day one and it will stay like that like it's part of the journey and the and the ageing of the of the project.

Gary Windiate 35:00
Yeah, like I like to use timber handrails because you touch them and things you touch a light to be warm, so I don't like steel handrails where they're cold to touch. So the timber handrails I like, and but it's so timber became a little bit more expensive last year, but I still so we use it sparingly, we use nice review zinc cladding before but we've used it sparingly, not the whole house, we, I like to use metal cladding, a bit more on the first floor now because it's it's bulletproof. It's weatherproof, it doesn't need maintenance, a product or whether text we've started to use a bit over the years, because it's a really good environmental product it's from this is what they used to use, they used to take everybody else's off cuts of wood, they chip it and pulpit and they press it on the Steam presses and the steam presses would be run by their off cuts. And you'd press this six mill board that had a 20 year lifespan. So even if the paint coating broke down, the board itself wouldn't break down. So it was very light, it was thin, it was easy to maintain, but it needed to be painted, which was okay. But it had an environmental aspect to it as well.

Aaron Kyle 36:16
Yeah, certainly. And yeah, they've actually weather Texas pretty good Australian story, because they've got quite, you know, they've sort of taken advantage of, we've got a large manufacturing facility up in northern New South Wales near Newcastle there. And like you said, you know, just being able to take a run of the mill product, pop it all together, and then and then produce multiple types of cladding. That very clever and efficient to

Gary Windiate 36:45
Yeah, and it's nice to use Australian products where we can, and like, I've always been that way inclined, but I think COVID brought that home, like COVID made me shop more locally, and now being involved in the Fairfield traders association. So you know, I'm involved in the community aspect of it, the Lord Fairfield, I've got a lawn bowls club here, and I've become a member there and go down and chat to the old guys down there. And, and they're there, the the history and the life of the area. And it's a really, it's really great to feel a part of the community. And so myself and my staff go out there every now and then during summer, and I've, you know, paid for their membership. And we would go out there and bolt. We haven't done that for a month, a few weeks now. But I'm keen to get another, you know, another session up there, because it's just a nice way of spending Friday afternoon.

Aaron Kyle 37:39
Yeah, look, I was about to ask you, you know, what do you like to do outside of work? And, you know, that's, that's really nice to hear you have that community spirit and immerse immersing yourself into the local community. I think that's really important. And we should do more of it. So

Gary Windiate 37:55
I think we should I think they're, you know, we, around where I live here, it's, you know, you see these high fences going up with remote gates. People come home from work, they drive into their house, they close the gate, they spend time with their family, and they kind of forget about their neighbours, whereas I'm one for having a chat with my neighbour over the fence. You know, and passing something over and you know, Gary, if you got this Yeah, I'll just, you know, go and grab that and I'll pass it over. And can we borrow a couple of chairs, we've got people coming around here, no problem, come over and grab some chairs. Yeah, and that's really nice. And I organise a bit of a Christmas function at my place with my neighbours, we just open up the back yard and people come over bring a plate and a few drinks and we just catch up and chat and it's it's been really good but COVID made everybody a little bit almost shy of catching up and it's slowly coming back to normal but the last couple of years that the Christmas parties the numbers have dwindled. People have got other things on it's not they've kind of started to lose that community feel again.

Aaron Kyle 39:00
Yeah, for sure. Curiosity, Gary, I think it's you know, it's always inspiring talking to people such as yourself and you know, weld on to you not only being a large contributor to Melbourne's architecture but also the you know, the local community I think it's a really special thing and thank you for sharing your your story here on build hatch.

Gary Windiate 39:21
No worries thanks very much for having me. It's been it's been enjoyable I like to talk about my job and I like to talk about things architecture. Yeah, I think I could talk forever

Aaron Kyle 39:32
now on that if people listening to this who you know want to reach out and and have a chat with you and discuss their project or just you know, get some advice on their career. What's the best way to go about it,

Gary Windiate 39:43
I think through the website or just give me a ring on the phone number I've I've been involved in a mentoring programme, which I was really excited about through the architects industry, but it didn't really lead to much remember having a chat to a young architect in Sydney, about helping her With where she was going in her studies and her career, and I've had a few young architects send me CVS to look over and give, you know, give them a bit of guidance. And I'm more than happy for that I'm more than happy for students to ring me and have a chat about the profession come in. And you know, we go next door to the cafe next door. And again, you know, I have meetings in the cafe, I have staff meetings in the cafe, because I like to give back to the local business. And I'm more than happy to have a chat with, with somebody, if a client is just unsure about where they need to go. Like if somebody's going, I want to renovate my house, but I just don't know who to speak to. I'm more than happy to chat to people like that, and give them some guidance and talk them through the process. Because I really think it's important that an architect is involved in all aspects of of renovation, like I said, it's just, you know, don't be afraid to reach out and ring me and say, Look, Gary, you know, can I just have a chat to you about I think I want to renovate the house, but I don't know. Or, and I, I'd be more than happy to say, look, I really don't think you need an architect. Because what you want is really simple. And you're really clear on what you want. And you're really clear on how you want to go about it. So there's no point paying an architect to be involved, or you've got a good understanding of what you want. But I think just your thought process is not quite there. So engage us just for the feasibility or concept design, or I've been engaged by, by a client just to run the thoughts by and we just used to meet up, she pay me for the hour, and we just talk about things so she could get her thoughts together and, and work. She was actually working with somebody else. But she was a friend of one of my clients, and she just wanted somebody to use as a sounding board. Do you think this would be a good idea? What about this? Do you think, you know, am I crazy thinking this? So yeah, I I've got a it's amazing how much you know. And I've never really realised until the last few years, how much I do know, just by opening up and speaking to people and, and I've even had people that I've worked for, sort of senior level in bigger practices, they've gone out and doing their own thing, or they want to renovate their own house, they would ring me up and asked me for my advice. And it's kind of like, wow, like 20 years ago, I was looking up to you. And now we're having a chat, and I'm giving you my thoughts and my advice on how I would approach it and you and you're listening. And

Aaron Kyle 42:32
it's important and it's about it's about, I guess valuing that relationship to LIS you know, having those authentic conversations.

Gary Windiate 42:43
And communication is the key to any relationship, you know, the relationship with my wife, the relationship with my kids, the relationship with my clients, the relationship with the builders, that we work with my staff, the local barista, you know, if you're having a bad day, it's okay to say, You know what, I'm having a bad day and sorry, from cranky, you know, rather than just acting like an idiot and being rude and walking away and going, Well, I wasn't wrong, but I now feel stupid about saying anything about it. You know, everybody has bad days, and it's perfectly fine in everybody makes mistakes, but it's how you bounce back from them. And it's how you deal with that makes you the person that you are, I think, yeah, look,

Aaron Kyle 43:21
I couldn't agree more. And like I said, Gary, thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for being honest and real and having an authentic conversation. It's, you know, that's what the show is about. So I'm sure a lot of people will be inspired by your story and, and giving back. So well done. And thanks again to Bill hatch.

Gary Windiate 43:41
Appreciate it. Thanks very much.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai