This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Richard Stampton's 'Quiet Architecture'

Creative People

We thought we knew all the key players in Melbourne’s architecture world. Then, we discovered Richard Stampton Architects. Suffice to say we’ve been caught quite off guard.

Richard and his team design buildings that are quiet,  even recessive, yet distinctly powerful in their simplicity. These are projects that look and feel like nothing else we’ve seen locally, and seem to signal a completely new direction for Australian architecture. We’re paying attention.

21st August, 2018

Architect Richard Stampton. Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Bush Camp 1 in South East Victoria by Richard Stampton Architects. Photo – Rory Gardiner.

Bush Camp 1 in South East Victoria by Richard Stampton Architects. Photo – Rory Gardiner.

Bush Camp 1 in South East Victoria by Richard Stampton Architects. Lightweight, temporary camping facilities that float above and respect the landscape. Photo – Rory Gardiner.

Ashtanga Yoga Studio in Collingwood (now Good Vibes Yoga), designed by Richard Stampton Architects. Photo – Rory Gardiner.

Ashtanga Yoga Studio in Collingwood (now Good Vibes Yoga), designed by Richard Stampton Architects. Photo – Rory Gardiner.

Ashtanga Yoga Studio in Collingwood (now Good Vibes Yoga), designed by Richard Stampton Architects. Photo – Rory Gardiner.

Ashtanga Yoga Studio in Collingwood (now Good Vibes Yoga), designed by Richard Stampton Architects. Photo – Rory Gardiner.

Fitzroy Community school 1, Thornbury. Completed 2011. Designed Richard Stampton Architects in collaboration with Baracco+Wright. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Fitzroy Community school 1, Thornbury. Completed 2011. Designed Richard Stampton Architects in collaboration with Baracco+Wright. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Richard Stampton at his Argyle st Office project. Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Richard Stampton at his Argyle st Office project. Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Argyle st Office, completed 2014  by  Richard Stampton Architects. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Argyle st Office, completed 2014  by  Richard Stampton Architects. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Fitzroy Community School 2, Thornbury. Completed 2016 by  Richard Stampton Architects. Photo – by the architect.

Lucy Feagins
Tuesday 21st August 2018

‘We hope that our projects don’t stand out at all. We hope that the community and passers by slowly notice and find a place for them in their experience of the street.’ – Richard Stampton.

After cutting his teeth as a young architect working for Peter Corrigan in Melbourne and celebrated Italian architect Renzo Piano in Paris, Richard Stampton established his own practice, Richard Stampton Architects, in 2009. The studio is based in Phillip Island, maintaining Richard’s lifelong connection to the ocean. ‘While our work is mostly built in Melbourne, our studio is on Phillip Island, and Christy Bryar, a very talented architect who has worked at RSA since 2011, is based in Gipsy Point. We particularly enjoy shifting between these contexts’. Richard muses.

‘Our goal is to make quiet, situational and culturally specific architecture’ Richard continues. ‘We strive to achieve this by making each project connect with its context on multiple levels.’

Richard isn’t interested in standing out. He’s not particularly interested in publicity, either. Instead, his is an altogether quieter, slower, and less ‘hyperactive’ approach to building design. Ironically.. he has our full attention.

Richard, where did you come from? Can you give us a little insight into your background?

The ocean is a big part of my life. I grew up sailing and surfing. That’s not obviously architectural, but it did create a spatial awareness and awareness of nature which certainly influences the way we approach architecture. The first thing I think about each morning is which way is the wind blowing.

I had great teachers and mentors. Working for Peter Corrigan in Melbourne and Renzo Piano in Paris were both, in very different ways, great influences on me. My parents are amazingly handy and crafty and taught me to collage, sew and use PVA glue and timber. I spent last week making a concept model for a presentation out of cardboard and PVA!

What are the distinguishing features of your architecture practice and the projects you deliver?

We limit the amount of projects we take on to allow us to prioritise building strong client relationships. The fact we have already delivered a number of projects for the same clients is something we’re most proud of.

Our goal is to make quiet, situational and culturally specific architecture. We strive to achieve this by making each project connect with its context on multiple levels – from the conscious simplicity of a roofline on the street, to the often subconscious experience of complex spatial sequencing and the proportion and materiality of internal spaces.

This mediation of the conscious and subconscious experiences of architecture, as with the universal and the situational, the rational and emotional aspects of design, allows us to create site connections while avoiding nostalgia.

What have been some of your standout projects and why?

Actually, we hope that our projects don’t stand out at all. We hope that the community and passersby slowly notice and find a place for them in their experience of the street. We devise a specific and unique balance between standing out and concealment for each project.

We often work in historically rich built environments like inner Melbourne. However,  recently our energy has been keenly focused on a Trust for Nature landscape near Wilsons Promontory for an important client of ours, Peter. This project is about combining the surrounding farmland vernacular; the water tank as ubiquitous structure, and what we learn from gazing up to the constellation of planets and stars. We’re working on bringing these two familiar, but intergalactically different, elements together into a subtle cosmological array of structures. There is cosmic energy at play!

What are some trends you are excited about in Australian architecture at the moment?

We are interested in architecture that is rigorous and strongly associated with its situation’s past and future, and which avoid overly abstract and hyperactive form making. So while we don’t get excited about trends necessarily, we are very excited about all of the architects practicing in this quieter way now finding more support in Melbourne.

What is the best thing about being an architect working in Melbourne at the moment – and on the other hand what is the most challenging aspect of running your practice?

Building our designs and working on a great variety of project types. This has much to do with Melbourne’s culture and our clients, who are ambitious and supportive of building ideas and enduring architecture.

The two greatest challenges to practice (and life) are reconciling the lack of meaningful connection to, and understanding of, our indigenous cultures. Australia can’t do its best work until this is properly addressed. Secondly, reconciling how we live, build and act everyday with how that affects our natural environment. I feel these challenges are philosophically interconnected.

Peruse more of Richard Stampton Architects’ impressive portfolio of built projects on their website.

Similar Stories

Roundup

Wellness By Design

Australia's most beautifully designed yoga, pilates and wellness studios – they might just convince us to work out.

Architecture

The Future Is Now At 18 Innovation Walk

An eye-popping eight-story facelift from Kosloff Architecture, Callum Morton and Monash Art Projects in Clayton.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A House Built of Sand

Explore the stunning Layer House by Robson Rak Architects in coastal Victoria.

This Week

Gardens

A Sensitively Built Coastal Garden, Designed To Look ‘Untouched’

The Garden Social carefully designed a garden, built into waterfront sand dunes on NSW's South Coast, where the serene seascape beyond takes...
Christina Karras

Design Eye

Architect Luke Fry, On Modernising A Heritage Home

Architect Luke Fry shares his advice on sensitively balancing old and new, when modernising a heritage home!

News

The Melbourne Label Making Stylish Kids' Wetsuits That Grow On Trees

Fants make kids’ wetsuits from natural rubber that look good and do good.
Sponsored

Creative People

Meet The Small Melbourne Brand Reinventing The Humble Gumboot

From a humble farm in South Gippsland, Merry People has grown from a grassroots start-up, to a successful brand sold across the globe!
Christina Karras
  7 hours ago

Architecture

An Architect + Interior Designer’s Coastal Home, Grounded In Nature

This Sydney family home is like a private treehouse by the beach, with views at every turn, and unexpected interiors.
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Floating House Entangled In Brush Box Trees On North Stradbroke Island

The tree canopy takes precedence over ocean views in this holiday home for three families, designed by Conrad Gargett architects.

Shopping

Say Hello To Your New Favourite Summer Shoes With This FRANKiE4 Giveaway!

Everything you need to know for your chance to win one of five pairs of shoes (of your choice!) from Australian label FRANKiE4!

Interiors

How To Turn Home Inspiration Into Reality, With Style Sourcebook

This free web-based mood board tool is the perfect place to refine your interior design vision. We show you how it's done!

Interiors

A 1915 Horse Stables Turned Family Home In The Adelaide Hills

SpaceCraft transformed a circa 1915 horse stable into a family’s elevated version of a traditional farmhouse in the Adelaide Hills.

News

New Melbourne Brand Saule Have Created The Dreamiest Robes, Just In Time For Summer

Local creative Sally Tabart has designed the ultimate robe for the home, beach and beyond – and it’s all made here in Melbourne!
Christina Karras

Stays

Escape To This Magical Tiny Home In The Gold Coast Hinterlands

Step inside an adorable, off-grid getaway on a farm, with 'no distractions', limited phone reception and a wood-fired hot tub.
Christina Karras

Homes

A Tiny Slice Of Japan Inside A Pink Darlinghurst Terrace

Ceramicist Laura Butler shares her 1890s Darlinghurst pink terrace, renovated by Trias in accordance with Japanese design principles.

Sustainable Homes

‘Future Ready’: Inside One Of Melbourne’s Newest Sustainable Developments

Mirvac are hoping to encourage sustainable living with their innovative 'future ready' display home in Melbourne's inner west.
Christina Karras
  23 hours ago

Architecture

A Contemporary Brunswick Addition That Contorts Out Of Sight

A major Brunswick home extension by Lisa Breeze Architect takes its cues from the surrounding neighbourhood and its Edwardian facade.

News

See Ethiopian-Norwegian Artist Olana Janfa's Colourful, Debut Solo Show!

The Melbourne-based painter’s first solo show is opening tonight, exploring themes of language, race and status in his playful works.
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Roundup

Wellness By Design

Australia's most beautifully designed yoga, pilates and wellness studios.

Architecture

The Future Is Now At 18 Innovation Walk

An eight-story facelift from Kosloff Architecture, Callum Morton and Monash Art Projects.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A House Built of Sand

Explore the stunning Layer House by Robson Rak Architects in coastal Victoria.

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net