On... Architecture with Jon King

On... Architecture with Jon King

King completed a Bachelor of Architecture in 1993 at UTS and was awarded a University Medal. He now runs his own practice, Design King Company, has won numerous awards and writes a blog, Mypad, for Domain.com.au.

I have long been of the view that life’s most interesting moments rest somewhere on the threshold between triumph and disaster. It is those who straddle this tricky territory who seem to do the most interesting work and tell the most interesting tales.

The requirement for success and safety are key drivers in much of what we do, and the systems and processes we put in place as a society are increasingly aimed at mitigating failure and supporting good outcomes.

The profession of architecture is no different as we individually and collectively strive and struggle for respect and broad acceptance of what we do and who we are.

For me, this deeper drive to practice architecture lies outside what I’d call conventional practice and is derived from the excitement I draw from a ‘not quite knowing’. It is in the imagining, discovery and the delight. This is not necessarily an easy fit with conventional wisdom, but doubt and, to some extent, fear of the unknown are very much key ingredients.

Rarely in my practice of architecture have I found the confidence, strength or occasion to let this desire for adventure quite escape the grasp of good conduct, but it remains a prime motivator and I hold firmly to the desire of at some point producing a piece of architecture that resonates at this level.

It is now 17 years since I graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture and the Medal from UTS and much has happened in the intervening years. That gritty and sometimes difficult education now seems somewhat distant.

But with a small and successful practice now established, and the opportunity to communicate about architecture through my work with Fairfax and other media, I feel am ready to step over that threshold and begin anew the search for a deeper and clearer narrative to my work.

Walking down to Broadway from my city office recently, taking my first methodical steps towards a return to the Tower and the opportunity to engage more broadly in the dialogue and debate with my master’s thesis on architecture, I felt a sense of strength and excitement that is a necessary accompaniment to my ongoing practice.

I have come a long way since I first studied here and feel simultaneously the old institution may also now be more assured of its place in the world.