Earlier this month, Winter Architecture, an architecture practice with offices in Fitzroy and Torquay, released their “Winter Architecture Practice Profile.” In an eight-minute film, the practice reveals who they are, what they do and how they do it.
“I love that it begins with an insight into Jean and practice’s philosophy,” says Archibiz CEO Bec Kempster. “As a viewer and potential client, you immediately know if you align with their values. If you don’t, you’re not going to watch further.” (Within the first minute, we see Jean describe her clients as “quiet but also luxurious in an elegant way.”)
Throughout the film, we also get to meet the entire team at Winter Architecture and see the studio where they work.
For Jean, that was the sole driver of the film. The film was originally meant to be a simple photoshoot to highlight the team and some of the new staff members. Without any script or formalities, that photoshoot then organically turned into a short documentary-style film on the practice. The film was created by Jack Mounsey, a former Winter Architecture team member turned filmmaker.
“I wanted our clients to get an understanding of who’s in the team,” Jean said. “As a client, it’s hard to make a decision about what architect you’re going to go with. Ultimately, it’s all about relationships and who you feel most comfortable with.”
By showcasing the entire team, Jean also demonstrates a level of trust and understanding, says Bec. Not only does it show that Jean trusts her team to speak and have their own platform, it helps remove some of the expectation that she will have to be there at every step of the way.
We also get a sense of unity. Each staff member is dressed in a simple white tee and black bottoms, making it feel like there was no standout star. That minimalist aesthetic continues to lend itself throughout the film, a reflection of the firm’s design style.
One of the most striking parts of the video is how well they articulate an architect’s value and weave that throughout the whole film, adds Bec. The film also does a fantastic job in unpacking the relationship between the client and the architect, a sore point for many people.
“They are really clear in saying that it is all about the client and how the client will use the space,” says Bec. “There’s often a perception that when an architect designs a place, it’s the architect’s design. The film demystifies that relationship with a client and helps clear those fears that a client may have.”
This point gets drilled even further with Nick Russell, a Winter Architecture client who makes an appearance on the film.
Nick starts off by talking about the mistakes that people may “unwittingly make” when they choose to bypass an architect. He then goes on to describe his relationship with Winter Architecture a “wonderful, collaborative experience.”
Throughout the film, we are reminded of the value behind hiring an architect. Architects can “create spaces for us that we might have never envisaged,” “bring new possibilities” and “nourishment” into our homes, and allow us to focus on what we do best.
At one point in the film, Jean says: “Making that process easy for the client is why we’re here.”
“Showing how we work and what we value as a team gives more perspective to all of the different facets of a project, as opposed to just the end outcome,” Jean said. “Publications may show 2D images of the finished product, but they don’t really understand the journey and how we think about the spaces.”
Demonstrating your value to a client can be one of the most challenging aspects of the job. Whether you choose to hire the practice or not, you still get a sense that you should be using an architect and that what they do is a real skill, says Bec.
“I hope the video helps people have an understanding of who we are, how we might work and give them the trust they need to choose us or work with any other architect,” added Jean.
Creating your own architecture film
Fellow architects should “absolutely” be creating their own films like this, adds Bec. If you’re not, chances are you are “way behind the eight ball.”
Once you create your own version of a film, share it with any client before they come into an initial meeting. It will serve as an automatic filter and get rid of clients who aren’t a good fit, says Bec.
“At the end of the day, people buy people, not your portfolio of past projects,” Bec says.
Winter Architecture is an Archibiz client and completed the Archibiz Designing Architectural Practical Success Course (DAPS.) To learn more about the practice, check out their website.
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