Mon, 02/09/2019 - 08:39
Current Issue 75
Having amalgamated an extensive architectural portfolio defined by excellence, Metropole Architects is bringing dynamic design to the global stage
Writer: Jonathan Dyble | Project Manager: Eddie Clinton
As global urbanisation has begun to spiral, architecture has risen in tandem, coming to the fore as one of the world’s most influential industries.
Described by architect Tadao Ando as the balanced synthesis of engineering and art, it is a specialism that defines the development of our living environments and shape of our cityscapes.
For Tyrone Reardon, South Africa is a market that has begun to truly embrace the extent of its impact.
“South Africa enjoys quality design, making it a market that presents opportunities for architectural firms who can deliver just that,” he explains. “For the most part, South Africans are progressive people, enthusiastic to keep abreast of cutting-edge international trends.”
Having been a budding architect from the age of 12, Reardon was somewhat destined to excel in the industry.
“Myself? I am fortunate in the sense that I knew I wanted to work in this field from a young age,” he continues. “I have always been attracted to creative pursuits such as art and music – strengths that aligned with a career in architecture.”
Studying the profession at the University of Natal between 1996 and 2002, he quickly secured a job working for now-partner Nigel Tarboton thereafter, the business having rebranded to Metropole Architects following the creation of a partnership between the pair in 2005.
“Nigel and I both operate in a design-orientated manner,” Reardon, the Co-Founder, adds. “We are naturally drawn to the types of projects that facilitate creative expression; hence Metropole Architects sets itself apart as a boutique architectural design studio.
“Ultimately, we focus on producing the best possible architecture both in terms of design and implementation.”
Having maintained an excellence-focussed ethos for well over a decade, Metropole Architects has developed the residential and commercial portfolios to back it up.
Looking at South Africa alone, it has delivered an abundance of luxury houses and modern, innovative buildings. This includes the firm’s ongoing contributions to the Durban Iconic Tower, set to be the tallest building in Africa and indeed the Southern Hemisphere.
To say that the firm’s reach is limited to South Africa or even the continent, however, would be false.
“I’m particularly proud of a residential property that we completed in Tel Aviv, Israel for a client that previously had no relationship with South Africa whatsoever,” explains Reardon, outlining Metropole Architects’ global capabilities.
“The builder didn’t speak a word of English and the balance of the team assembled for the project was really diverse and multicultural. Of course, this made the realities of overcoming language barriers, building conventions and geographical separation in order to produce an outstanding piece of architecture a significant challenge.
“However, despite these hurdles, the project was a complete success.”
Such success, much like any of Metropole Architects’ other projects, is somewhat testament to the close-knit relationships that the company has maintained with its world-class partners and suppliers over the years. From contractors to construction specialists, the enterprise ensures that it works with the very best in the industry.
Reardon continues: “The implementation of our designs relies completely on these relationships. The success of every project that goes onto site hinges on the team assembled to implement the vision.
“The better the completed final product turns out, which is the fruit of the collective efforts of all parties involved, the more positive the impact on our business.”
Partners and suppliers aside, Metropole Architects’ team of experienced professionals are equally a major driving force behind the company’s ongoing advancements.
Having developed an enviable workplace culture built on high talent retention rates, it provides the perfect platform for young architects to flourish with coherently structured progression programmes.
“We don’t experience a lot of influx with our personnel,” Reardon affirms. “New team members are mentored for a few years before being given increasing degrees of autonomy. The end result is that they end up gaining experience and competence in all areas of the practice.”
Reardon’s own journey with Metropole Architects provides the evidence of this.
Meanwhile, the company has also established itself as a community stalwart in other ways besides career development, taking an active stance on the front of corporate social responsibility.
“We have been involved in a number of community-based projects over the years, where buildings have been donated by organisations into disadvantaged contexts,” Reardon explains, “and have provided architectural services for free on a number of projects that we believed in and wanted to support which were unable to self-fund the fees.”
From social investment to employee empowerment to project excellence, the future looks bright for Metropole Architects.
Citing optimism towards the future, the Co-Founder once again points towards the latter of these focus areas as our conversation begins to draw to a close.
“We are very excited about a new project which is starting up on site in Kyrenia, Northern Cyprus,” he reveals. “This will be another flagship home for us.
“Further, we are also excited about the Durban Iconic Tower project. It’s making steady progress through the project inception phase of the process and should transition into its next phase in the near future.”
The rise of technology is a second field that is very much on the company’s radar, the business looking to capitalise on the role that social media, blogs and other engagement platforms are playing in changing the perceptions of architecture.
“Likewise, video conferencing and livestream video feeds have facilitated the opportunity for architectural input to be provided on site from any location in the world,” Reardon adds. “Both of these factors have opened up the world to architects who have international aspirations.”
It is this global outlook that resonates clearly with Metropole’s own ambitions moving forwards.
Reardon concludes: “The next season of our growth will likely necessitate us opening a new international office, and we are already considering either the UK or the USA, or both, as potential locations.”