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The Sustainability of Longevity with Adam Kane Architects

  • Walnut House by Adam Kane Architects

    While trends can undeniably influence architecture, the idea of sustainability also encompassing the longevity of its relevance calls for wider consideration.

    Founder and director of his namesake studio, architect Adam Kane is known for his resolutely restrained approach. The architect believes longevity is not a mere afterthought but a fundamental principle at the heart of what they do. By focusing on the lifetime and legacy created through design, he adds, “We create the ability to be sustainable in a deeper way.”

    “I believe through the refinement of a singular concept, and its balance of space and materiality is where the best resolution lies,” Adam says. “We look at who the client really is, and then design something that aligns with their values and how they want to live.” Critical to aligning with clients who share a similar vision is to communicate early on and have a continual open dialogue. “We want to be working with people who are passionate about being involved in designing a building that will last beyond them,” he adds. By forging a collaborative relationship, the design journey becomes grounded in a greater purpose. It creates a heightened engagement with the result, fostering ownership and trust.

    Brighton House by Adam Kane Architects

    Brighton House | Photography by Timothy Kaye

    Like most of what we and how we consume today, the availability of design globally has changed the way architecture and design are appreciated. For generations, cities were built with the future in mind, shaping what was to come. “I’m not interested with what is trending, as trends will always come and go – even ‘timelessness’ can date – but what does matter is designing in a way that will stay relevant and age gracefully,” Adam says. “Ethically, it doesn’t make sense to invest so much time, labour and resources, knowing it won’t be relevant.” Instead, his focus lies more on how a building or space can create a feeling – that through light, volume, openness, and scale, those elements shape the experience of a space.

    “What I see is the louder a design seems to be, the more likely it is to be trending,” Adam says. “By using bright colours, vibrant patterns, feature tapware or existing silhouettes, the ‘newness’ of these designs can sometimes overhaul the greater purpose of design.” However, the focus on quality, refinement and the consideration of junctions is where the craft of a space and how each of its parts comes together will continue to resonate over time.

    Adam says there’s something about walking into a space of restraint and reason, which can take your breath away with a sense of calm and quality. “That is part of why you would keep it and pass something through generations that makes a design unique,” he adds.

    Admitting that his clients are drawn to an enduring aesthetic, Adam says they also rarely would commit to designing and building with an architect, with the sole purpose to then sell it on. Being the end user, the appreciation for the quality of the spaces and an engagement with the senses beyond commercial appeal is perhaps also where the focus on longevity seems to lie. “You buy an artwork, and you keep it and pass it on to generations,” he adds, “and our clients see the process as doing a very similar thing – they see architecture as an investment in beauty and craft.”

    By integrating a more long-term mindset through formal education, discussed in media and between clients, a greater understanding of the sustainable benefits of designing for longevity could be appreciated. “It’s all about paring back and finding a balance,” concludes Adam, “these enhance feeling and foster a connection beyond the surface.”

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