An undeniable force in Perth’s architectural industry, Nick Silich, Senior Architect at SPH architecture + interiors, is one of the region’s most in-demand building designers. Having worked across apartment and residential design, educational facility design, healthcare architecture and aged care facility design, Nick brings expertise, innovation and passion to every project.
A high achieving Senior Architect at SPH architecture + interiors, Nick provides valuable insight into the world of architecture.
‘I think architecture is a great mix of structure, analytics and, of course, art.’
When discussing his architectural passions, Nick explains that he is most drawn towards architecture that’s functional and valuable to public spaces.
‘Creating functional, energetic and active environments that people can enjoy and relax in provides a real benefit to the community.
Starting out at university, Nick won a number of design awards for his portfolios. He initially worked at a firm which specialised in apartment buildings and residential spaces. Through designing bespoke homes, Nick was exposed to the challenges of architecture early on in his career.
Working so closely with clients, Nick developed the strong communication, project management and organisational skills required to successfully complete residential projects.
Nick was quickly entrusted to take on larger roles and more responsibility, allowing him to build his skillset and cement his reputation as a budding industry leader.
‘I worked on larger and more complex projects and had a bit more autonomy allowing me to run projects and be a lead designer.’
Harmonising Design and Resources
Once moving into apartment design, Nick became involved in the sales and marketing of apartment buildings across Perth. Working on projects in sought-after areas like South Fremantle, Burswood, Rivervale, North Perth and Como, well-designed medium-sized apartments were in high demand.
Discussing the challenges of apartment design, Nick explains that finding a balance between functional design and limited resources is essential.
‘You’re constantly trying to balance design and quality, which of course comes at a cost.’
While managing client expectations and consultant teams can be challenging, all parties want the same end result; a well-designed building of high value.
‘You have to find that happy medium and look at where you can put your design and energy that will have the most value to the end user or the client.’
Innovation in Apartment Living Design
We’ve all been in apartments with poor design or layouts; whether they neglect to take advantage of aspects or are simply difficult to navigate.
Alongside balancing client expectations and budgets, Nick also focuses on creating spaces that flow.
‘There’s nothing worse than walking into a house or apartment – I think we’ve all done it – and finding that you’ve got long corridors that serve no real purpose.’
When it comes to innovation in apartment design, modern clients demand clever use of available space and resources.
‘Fixing those old habits and then trying to improve on them and ending up with a well-designed and efficient apartment can be very rewarding.’
Nick explains that producing a design that overcomes the challenge of limited space, whilst meeting functional requirements and desired aesthetics is one of the most rewarding and exciting aspects of multi-residential architecture and design.
‘The most rewarding part for me, when designing apartments, is being able to make them extremely efficient. Every square metre of the space is well utilised and giving back to the occupants.’
Finding innovative and functional uses for space, like corridors, is what gives Nick’s apartments an edge. Nick’s designs provide clients with a number of added opportunities for usable and functional space, ensuring comfort and flexibility into the future.
‘If you’re in a more comfortable space you will be happier – and that is what it all comes down to.’
Designing a Lifestyle
By creating a lifestyle incorporating function, ease and amenities with luxurious and practical communal spaces, apartment living attracts people across all demographics.
While high quality communal spaces can significantly add to the comfort and enjoyment of those who inhabit the building, they can’t fix poor design within the individual living spaces.
‘You can have the most amazing pool area but if your apartment is cramped you still feel like you’re living in a shoebox. It is just a shoebox with a nice pool.’
Finding the perfect balance between functional and streamlined apartment design and valuable communal spaces makes for a building that’s in demand and attuned to what current buyers want.
Managing Client Expectations
When it comes to designing homes (or really any building) for clients, Nick explains that going over budget is a common case. A client may have a particular idea in mind for their project, but may not be fully aware of associated costs and resources.
‘No matter what you do, often people’s expectations are greater than their budget.’
Nick works with clients to redefine necessities and provide solutions that are within budget and meet their expectations.
Utilising his well-developed industry skills and innovative approach to design, Nick is able to balance client expectations with smart architectural decisions that provide real, long term value.
Changing the Landscape of Educational Facility Design
Following on from his success as an apartment building designer, Nick brought his creative ideas and design concepts to educational facility design.
Once moving to SPH architecture + interiors, Nick had the chance to work with a client on a design for educational facility that was out of the ordinary.
Passionate about creating versatile spaces for the community, Nick was tasked to design a unique space to accommodate curious kids throughout the early learning and development years.
‘This client saw opportunity with us to create an early learning centre designed with a perimeter of rooms that enclose and look out onto a large central courtyard play area.’
Instead of creating a traditional ‘home and yard’ style design most commonly found in older centres, the client aspired to create a stimulating and engaging area where children were inspired to play and explore.
Creating a Playful, Open and Functional Space
A big kid at heart, Nick was excited to design a centre where he would want to be.
‘You can one minute be making sand castles outside and the next minute you can be doing art or building blocks.’
Emphasising learning through play, Nick’s designs allow children to follow their curiosity and develop practical and essential skills in an exciting way.
Working with landscape architects, Nick designed a piece of customisable equipment able to be repurposed according to interests.
‘One day it might be a swing, the next day it would be a rope climb, the next it could be timber planks where they could pretend they are on a pirate ship or whatever!’
Through an open and functional play area, Nick hopes that his educational facility design can be instrumental in providing a diverse learning experience.
‘They can learn themselves, create their own challenges, overcome them and build resilience.’
Moving into Aged Care Facility Design
A recent move into aged care facility design proves that Nick’s approach to architecture and design can be applied to many demographics.
Working on the Wearne Cottesloe project, an aged care and retirement living facility with 128 beds and 75-80 apartments, the project presents the challenge of creating a functional space appropriate for older people while also being a desirable and modern place to live.
Incorporating features like wider corridors and generous bathroom layouts, Nick is embracing the task of designing spaces that blend comfort and ease with lifestyle amenities sought after by people of all ages.
‘Just because you might be in your twilight years doesn’t mean that you don’t want to still entertain friends and family, enjoy a nice balcony and have a large kitchen.’
‘I’ll be drawing on his knowledge through aged care and its specific needs and then, of course, my own expertise in apartment design to benefit both elements of the project.’
Working in Healthcare Architecture
Working regionally with the Department of Communities, Nick assisted in developing the mid-west cancer hostel at Geraldton Regional Hospital. Used as a medical and residential building, people living in regional communities are provided with on-site accommodation when visiting for cancer treatments.
Designing motel-style units within the hospital grounds, Nick and the team focused on creating spaces that felt like modern beach shacks. The designs emphasised high ceilings, natural light and privacy while also being accessible and convenient for visitors.
Nick was determined to create a home away from home where visitors could feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible throughout treatment.
‘Being able to provide them with spaces where they can be outdoors whilst still maintaining privacy from others staying at the hostel was important. We had to ensure that the hostel felt like a place to escape, separate from the hospital even though it is on the same site.
Learn more about the Geraldton Cancer Hostel project here.
An Industry-Leading Team of Perth Architects
As part of the award-winning team at SPH architecture + interiors, Nick Silich works alongside reputable Perth architects, designers and consultants to create functional, innovative and modern spaces. Whether it’s working on apartment buildings, healthcare facilities, early learning centres or aged care and retirement designs, Nick applies his passion and expertise for the art of architecture to every project.