Grace Schlager is an up and coming architect residing in Albany, Western Australia. Blessed with high ambitions Grace is renovating her new offices which aim to promote local industries in both art and furniture; with the firm heavily focusing on residential architecture.
Grace graduated from the University of Western Australia and has worked with Bollig design group as an interior designer and with H+H architects as a graduate where she gained the experience to then register as an architect. Since being registered Grace has started Schlager Architects, a sister company to Schlager Homes.
Here is a brief synopsis from an Interview with Grace.
So basically, to start it off I want to know a little bit about you, how did you get to become an architect, how did it all manifest to this point in time?
Having grown up with a father for a builder, Grace was thrown into the architectural realm from a very early age. Grace recounts sitting in his office observing him draw countless amounts of architectural drawings. From day one, architectural design was embedded in her life.
“I even answered the phone saying ‘hello this is schlager homes’ when I was about 7.”
After the ‘subliminal messages’ to become a designer had been adopted, Grace chose to study Environmental Design at the University of Western Australia. Grace then went on to complete her masters of Architecture to join her father in the same industry.
“When I finished uni, it was hard to get a job and I wasn’t loving Perth anymore – and I thought well ill come home.”
Was there that fear of coming back? there’s always that feeling of what’s changed, what’s happening, have I almost failed by coming back to Albany?
“Yeah, 100%. It’s so silly but I definitely felt like that. I had that drive when I was 18, I just wanted to get out of Albany.”
Grace has since been in Albany for 7 years and loved every second of the scenery change from the bustling city.
“There’s such a grind in Perth and I think I’m not that personality, it’s so important to have a passion and push yourself, but you don’t necessarily need to be in a big city to do that.”
There’s an appeal to the southwest that can only be experienced by living in this part of the world. Grace’s daily experiences include a swim before a 2 minute commute to work, the ability to have start and finish times that revolve around workload instead of a strict schedule involving multiple train rides and peak hour traffic. There’s a sense of joy in Graces voice when she explains the ability to love your work due to the lifestyle advocated by the southwest.
So, what’s your take on the direction that Albany is headed? You’ve built in Albany, you’ve experienced living in your own designs, but I can’t really see a direction. It’s like there’s a miss-match of all these ‘things’ (like the entertainment center, gap developments etc.) and I was wondering what your take would be on all of it.
Albany In Grace’s eyes, has flourished since the time spent growing up here. There is a sense of progression in both the people and expectations. Grace goes on to explain,
“The developments of big items such as the entertainment center and the forts area etc. are so government-driven, there are so many other issues at play. It’s hard to look at these big items as potentially being the direction that Albany is going in, because they’re not necessarily dictated by the people that live here.”
“But when you scale down from that to the small business owners – I think in that direction we’re going great places, people are putting the time and effort in.”
The progression of these small-scale business’ i.e. new pubs, brewery’s/winery’s, café’s and galleries accentuate the personal level of the needs/wants of local people. From the local brewery of Wilson’s which has now progressed into an iconic, family friendly venue that provides a sense of warm homeliness of dad’s backyard shed; To the Liberte’, a cocktail bar with upper-class Parisian aesthetic, Albany is producing quality venues for the people by the people.
Full interview: Interview-GraceSchlager.mp3 – Google Drive
Special Thanks to Grace Schlager for lending me her time and participating in this interview.