DESIGN CHATS WITH ARCHITECT CHRISTOPHER POLLY
Meet Christopher Polly, the architect responsible for creating your responsible dream home.
For Christopher Polly, sensation and astonishment go hand-in-hand with function and systems. With one swift Google, you’ll understand why the Australian-based architect is deeply admired… His work on projects such as the Cosgriff House, Elliot Ripper House, Darling Point Penthouse and Haines House are enthusiastically praised and visually draw-dropping. Notably, these particular structures were nominated for a selection of prestigious awards from the Australian Interior Design Awards to the Houses Awards, the Interior Design Excellence Awards as well as the House & Garden Room of the Year. The solo-man mastermind behind his firm, Christopher Polly Architect, founded in 2005, Polly’s talent spans commercial, hospitality and residential.
In his ability to explore and elevate the ordinary, Polly is an all-around design inspiration — showcasing the power of architecture to beguile, transfix and transform in a way that questions a design’s role artistically and environmentally. A space of sleek simplicity often offers a pleasingly visceral experience, yet Polly reminds us that acute thoughtfulness, skill and creativity remain the backbone of any accomplished style.
As long-time fans, we were beyond ecstatic to have the chance to chat with Polly on his accomplishments and approach to his craft, below. Follow @christopherpollyarchitect on Instagram for unceasing brilliance.
CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND?
Christopher Polly Architect was established in late 2005. I was working on a few private residential commissions around this time, and a large mixed-use commercial project in Homebush provided the springing point to establishing the office in a full-time capacity. Prior to this, I worked for several years within prominent Sydney architecture practices following graduation from UNSW with the Australian Institute of Architect Prize.
THE PRACTICE, CHRISTOPHER POLLY ARCHITECT, ACTS AS A ONE-MAN FIRM. WHAT ARE THE PERKS OF THIS? CHALLENGES?
That’s correct, the office currently comprises of me working alone. Having autonomy in the exploration of ideas and being in control of the design direction of the office is the overriding benefit, while the main challenge is balancing economic imperatives in the production and delivery of high quality outcomes for clients.
AS A PERSONAL PREFERENCE, DO YOU PREFER WORKING ON RESIDENTIAL LOCATIONS OVER COMMERCIAL OR VICE VERSA? WHY?
I primarily do residential work, with the occasional commercial or hospitality project. I tend to mostly favour residential work, as this work allows a broader depth of opportunity to explore and test ideas. I also like the speedier turn-around time frames that interior residential and commercial work tend to entail, especially when there are shared visions to achieving great design outcomes.
HOW IMPORTANT IS A STRUCTURES NATURAL SURROUNDING ENVIRONMENT TO YOUR WORK? HAVE YOU ALWAYS HAD A FOCUS FOR SUSTAINABILITY?
Very important. The immediate setting, the particular pattern of built fabric in the street and the strength found in the formal qualities and established conditions of a building and its site always define the parameters for differentiated design responses to the program of each project. Sustainability, cost and planning strategies go hand-in-hand in my holistic detail design approach for each site.
FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, WOULD YOU SAY YOU HAVE A SIGNATURE STYLE?
Describing a style can be difficult. I am more interested in the development of ideas for appropriate contemporary responses to individual problems, that aim to resonate simplicity, conceptual rigour and material invention.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING ARCHITECTS?
Work extremely hard with an unwavering commitment and focus to achieving great outcomes.
WHEN YOU COMPLETE A PROJECT, DO YOU OFTEN WORK WITH STYLISTS TO BRING THE CONCEPT TO LIFE THROUGH FURNISHINGS? WHAT IS THAT PROCESS LIKE?
Depending on the project and client, and when requested, I offer advice as to selections for furniture and furnishings. My clients tend rely upon my guidance when it comes to furnishings. This is probably due to their understanding in the styling I’ve brought to projects for photography over the last five to six years, which can take a good three to four months of planning, hunting and gathering.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON? OR RATHER, DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING EXCITING ON THE HORIZON?
Alterations and a significant addition to an original 1960’s bungalow in Woolooware is an exciting project that is underway on site, and I’m also very excited to be in the early stages of designing a new house in Lilyfield.
- Design Twins