“I’m a firm believer in trying to figure out how to move forward. We are not designing for a stagnant culture. We’re designing for a culture that is evolving. The projects we’re doing have life spans beyond the present; when we design, we project the future we would like to see.”
The father-of-two is especially passionate about the part technology can play in evolving the industry.
“I’m fascinated by where technology and design have intersected in recent years. If we were to truly embrace the technological opportunities we have at our fingertips, we would be able to build and design in a different way. At the moment we have speciality projects that are able to do that, but only because they can operate at a high level with the right investment. I’d like to see it enter the mainstream.”
When asked how he reconciles the balance between contentment and evolution, the globally-renowned designer and educator admits constantly striving can lead to a grey area.
“It’s a highly individualistic thing, but society is a constantly evolving beast so change is inevitable. We’re constantly progressing or regressing, depending on how you want to see it, because we don’t live in a static environment.
“You either continue trying to make things better, or continue trying to accept things. It’s probably one of the biggest things designers struggle with. How do you say that’s enough, that it's done and it can’t get better?
“I heard a great quote that said great architects don’t retire, they die. It’s more than what you do - it’s who you are.
Alvin’s creative perfectionism is inherent in each project his boutique firm approaches, of which no two are the same.
“Our portfolio doesn’t have dozens of case studies of the same type of thing - each project is a different case, scale, project or size. In most cases, every time we do something is the first time we’ve done it. Because of that - we don’t come from a place of affirmalism or preconditioned answers.
“We bring a host of questions like: Why has it been done? Why hasn’t it been done in a different way? What’s the benefit of doing it another way? We rethink the problem, rather than coming up with a similar version of the solution.”
Alvin - who says he can find logical ways to think with his heart - never shies away from taking a different perspective, especially when his children are involved.
“Having kids has given me a really interesting way to reflect on architecture and how it’s perceived. When my daughter was 4 or 5 she said something to me about being an architect and I asked - ‘do you even know what being an architect is?’
“She said ‘yeah, architects are people who make cool things’. At the end of the day when you strip everything back, if I can say that’s what I did for a living that’s pretty special.”