Christmas is upon us! Time for the beach.

Well, Archistartup is now 17 months old, and another summery Christmas is upon us down here in the Southern Hemisphere. We have rocketed into the end of the calendar year, and many new projects are on the point of emerging, so in the New Year we should have some juicy news for you. Stay tuned, and have an enjoyable and safe break! And, of course, if you can, hit the beaches under cover of good sunscreen. Merry Christmas!

We are now on the Construction Supplier Register (CSR)

Just a quick note this morning to let all of you Archistartuppers know that Baumgart Clark Architects is now pre-qualified for and listed on the Victorian State Government's Construction Supplier Register.

From this, you can deduce that we are now available for weddings, parties, anything relating to architectural consulting, on behalf of Government in the State of Victoria! To our friends in State Government, we look forward to chatting with you in the near future.

Good times people.

 

When an unsuccessful tender is still rewarding

I thought I would share our experience with a recent tender process, for which we were unsuccessful, as it is a model for how these processes should be conducted. The result might not be what we had hoped for, but the tender was conducted in such a way that the experience was rewarding, and respectful of the effort required by small businesses to bid for work in this typically time consuming manner.

The tender was conducted by the Camberwell Girls Grammar School, and is ongoing as I write this; we were shortlisted to a semi-final group of eight and invited to submit a formal bid, but did not get shortlisted to the final three, so we are out of the picture for now. Despite this disappointing outcome, we enjoyed the process of tendering, and this was entirely a result of the thoughtful and respectful structure of the tender as set up by the School.

The School’s initial public expression of interest was structured in a clever way that was easy to respond to, and I believe, subsequently easy to assess - the tenderers had to submit no more than five single pages, Arial font at 12 point, with no graphics or marketing materials accepted. This has two benefits. Firstly, for the respondent, it allows you to concentrate on making your case based on the facts, and forces brevity. You have to get to the point. Secondly, time and effort is not wasted on unnecessary and typically distracting graphics work, or on the effort to make the submission appear more appealing through superficial means. The end result is a ‘lean’ process, which is of benefit to all parties involved. From our point of view, it also levels the playing field between small firms like ours, with constrained resources, and large firms with graphics teams and bidding teams who can invest large amounts of time and effort in multiple tenders. We like that.

When it came time to prepare a formal bid, the School convened an information session with the semi-final eight teams, and as a result our subsequent tenders were informed and could once again get to the point. At this point the tender response was unconstrained, and marketing material and graphics could come into play; however, the incentive and potential payback on the investment of effort at this stage of the process is much higher, as you have already been shortlisted. The result is a sustainable process - if all tenders were conducted in this way, they would be more affordable for small businesses, with better odds of success warranting the investment of time, effort and intellectual property.

Finally, after we learnt that we were unsuccessful, the School took the time to offer meaningful feedback in a generous manner, further ensuring that our investment of time and effort was not lost, but translated into valuable lessons for future bids. All in all, it is the most fruitful lost bid that we have ever experienced.

The Camberwell Girls Grammar School’s approach has, overall, been the opposite of the scatter-gun approach indulged in by many tender issuers. We appreciated their investment of time and thought in the process, and commend them for conducting their bidding process in this way. If only more tenders were structured in this manner, we might have a sustainable and worthwhile bidding environment for small and medium sized firms.

Out and about working in Horsham and Leongatha

In recent developments, we have been successful in securing an exciting new project, the creation of a Welcome Centre and Student Resource Area for the Horsham campus of Federation University. This extremely welcome project further extends our relationship with the University, and is another example of our work in regional centres, of which there seems to be a bit right now. Another regional project on our books at the moment is stage one of the masterplan for Mary MacKillop Catholic Regional College. Mary MacKillop College is located in Leongatha, and going from strength the strength; the College needs to expand, and will benefit from some fresh thinking around their use of the campus.

These are just two examples of BCA getting out and about for our regional clients. If you are in regional Victoria and need some assistance with an architecture, masterplanning or design issue, do let us know - we would be only too happy to help.

Success and a shortlisting

Hello dear readers, we have had some good news this week. Firstly, we were successful in our bid to develop the Good Design Standard for the City of Maribyrnong. This innovative document will be based on 10 questions that seek to encourage and guide designers and applicants to achieve good design in planning applications submitted to the City. This challenging project kicks off in a couple of weeks, and we look forward to bringing you updates.

CGGS Junior School.jpg

We are also very pleased to announce that out of a field of 27 competitors, we have been shortlisted to undertake the Camberwell Girls Grammar School masterplan. The next stage allows us to present our credentials and a methodology of approach, and we are grateful to the School for the opportunity to put our best foot forward for this exciting project. The leafy campus is a delight to visit, and we were given a tour yesterday. As you can see from the photograph of the Junior School, the gardens are wonderful.

Lots of other things are in the pipeline, we look forward to updating you with more news some time soon.

Welcome to 2014!

Well folks, Baumgart Clark Architects is now in its official second calendar year of operation. Whew! We made it through 2013 and have arrived at 2014 in one piece, and things are looking good. Happy New Year to all of you, we wish you a prosperous and engaging year. We look forward to working with/for/near you all!

Our Graduation Wall is complete!

OK, it's only stage 1 - but Arnoud and the team at SJ Weir builders have done a fantastic job getting the three walls and paving area completed in about six weeks, just in time for graduation ceremonies. Excitingly, once the rain cleared, the graduates spontaneously wandered over from the Founder's Hall where the ceremony was conducted, and began using the wall in the exact way we and the client hoped it would be used - as a backdrop for photographs marking their important day. Many thanks to our client, Federation University, for giving us the opportunity to assist them with this exciting project. And finally, congratulations to all of the students who have graduated in the last couple of days. 

Now it's on to Stage 2, where we will see the introduction of four more stars in the paving, making up the full complement of five stars taken from the logo. The results should be graphically interesting, and provide a real marker for the University's forecourt.

Our Graduation Wall design: all systems are go

The stars are in our eyes here at Archistartup. In case you missed it, we are designing and documenting a 'Graduation Wall' for Federation University for their Mount Helen Campus. Three walls and a highly graphic paving pattern incorporating the stars of the Southern Cross will enliven the plaza in front of the main Administration building.

As you can see from the images below, our first project to enter construction is storming ahead. In particular note the big Southern Cross star in the foreground - it's one of five that will be installed - it should look dynamite in a pale honed/polished exposed aggregate against the bluestone paving. This project is happening so quickly, and we will keep feeding the blog with updates as it unfolds. Nothing like a fixed academic year deadline to get things moving along! 

Speaking from the heart

Hello Archistartuppers, Marcus here. As the week draws to a close, we thought we would share our recent and upcoming speaking engagements. We have diverse interests here at BCA, and we get asked to speak at all sorts of events, as evidenced by the selection below.

Last Friday, I was pleased to present at the Retail Design Institute 2013 Conference, organised by the inimitable Annie Harper of Idea Nation and hosted by the good folks at Inlite in Richmond, Melbourne. The topic was speculation and dreaming, and I was very privileged to present alongside good friend and colleague Amanda Henderson of Gloss Creative. I did the speculation bit, which I confess was a little intimidating given the calibre of the audience (!) and Amanda gave the group some wonderful dreams in the form of recent Gloss projects, which are - of course - always dynamite. All went well, and the day overall was a ripping success, with great feedback coming through on the various presentations.

Fast forward to September and John Clark is going to be presenting at two events - the first of which is the Comcare National Conference 2013. John is presenting a paper on the topic of 'Work Design: Designing for Purpose, Performance and Productivity.' This dovetails neatly with the conference theme, 'Better design for prevention, smarter support for recovery'. Closer to the event we will post updates on the presentation and give you the gist of it all.

As if this weren't enough, mere days after the Comcare conference, John is presenting at the Victorian Urban Planning Forum 2013, being organised by Akolade. Check out the conference outline on their website here. John is speaking on the topics of masterplanning and PPP's, and together we will be running a masterplanning workshop with conference attendees.  

So that's what is on the cards for the next couple of months in terms of extracurricular activities, and no doubt more will emerge as we roll along. Stay tuned. That concludes today's update at the end of week two of our little startup - so far so good!

 

Our home among the app developers

We have said that Baumgart Clark is a different kind of startup, and we are a different kind of architecture business as well. Nothing says this more directly than where we have chosen to make our new home, which is in the OpenHub co-working space set up by clever Melbourne iOS and Android app development studio Jtribe . 

openhub logo.png

Jtribe is run by partners Armin Kroll ad Daniel Bradby, and several years ago they responded to a growing need for co-working spaces in Melbourne, and OpenHub was born. You can learn about co-working here. Today, the OpenHub brings together not only the Jtribe team, but a collection of other independent knowledge workers from fields as diverse as GIS mapping, form design, UX design, graphic design and of course coding. 

Being bricks and mortar architects, as opposed to enterprise or information architects, brings yet another dimension to the OpenHub, and the gang have been very excited to see our drawing boards, brick charts and miscellaneous drafting equipment. Amongst the tech heads, we are a novelty; and indeed, they are a novelty to us. Working with non-designers is liberating, and deeply refreshing. This is to say nothing about the potential for crossover opportunities, a few of which may already be emerging after less than a week in the hub. So if you are curious, drop in and say hello. 13/243 Collins Street Melbourne, enter off Manchester Lane. You will be made welcome.

We have launched!

Hello friends! It's an exciting week for us here at ArchiStartup, as I am pleased to announce that the startup has officially launched with the name Baumgart Clark Architects. This is a new small business providing architectural design services and advice, set up by us - Marcus Baumgart and John A. Clark.  You can find our shiny new business website at baumgartclark.com.au.  

This brings to fruition two weeks of frantic planning - yes, it's only been that long. Just two short weeks ago the business didn't exist, even as a rough concept. We believe that the only way to survive in the current market is to be nimble and super-quick, and in this spirit we have patterned our business on the 'lean startup' methodology, as translated from the technology industry. The methodology wasn't meant for architecture businesses, so we are having to make it up as we go along to some extent, but that just makes it more exciting when we get something right.

Technology is an important part of our story, and web technologies and startups are particularly close to our heart. To pick an example, this website and our business website are both powered by Squarespace, an innovative, lean business with a polished design sensibility, coming out of New York. With Squarespace's products we have been able to go from zero to two fully functional websites in under two weeks. 

So that's us. For a good building, head on over to baumgartclark.com.au. For stories from the front line of setting up a lean new business, visit us here at ArchiStartup regularly, and we will keep you updated on the story as it unfolds. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter: we are @archistartup. Google+ business page to launch shortly.

Exciting times!