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05 Journal
Sandra Furtado
Niall Durney

“Youth-filled Energy,” writer Paul McGillick interviews Principals & Design Directors Sandra Furtado & Niall Durney for the March 2018 edition of Indesign.

One way to engender a paradigm shift in organisational culture is to shed one’s old skin and seek out new horizons. Pioneers of change, design directors Sandra Furtado and Niall Durney are taking Crone Architects on a journey of transformation that starts with people and place.

Think of Crone Architects and you probably think of high-rise commercial buildings. But Crone has been quietly re-inventing itself, led by young design directors, Sandra Furtado and Niall Durney. Hence, the practice has recently completed small-scale projects like the Orange Regional Museum (winner of the Sulman Medal for Public Architecture 2017), and The Connection – Rhodes Community Centre.

Although at 850sqm with a 7.2m floor-to-ceiling height it is anything but small-scale, Crone’s new studio at Sydney’s World Square is a stunning metaphor for an architectural practice renewing itself. Its huge space and fully glazed north-facing façade make it unique among architectural offices and it acts as the physical analogue to Crone’s cultural shift.

“We are trying,” says Durney, “to design an office which is agile and design-focused. The thing about the fit-out is that everything looks very temporary. It’s a light touch within the space.” Crucially, everybody gets equal light and the space is flexible to allow for a constantly changing practice.

Furtado added, “I call this the warehouse in the sky. It gives you a sense of being in a creative, collaborative space, like an industrial space.”

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