For the last 30 years or so, Ian Moore has established himself as one of Australia’s premier architects. His multidisciplinary practice has won numerous national and international awards and his work has been exhibited everywhere from Dublin to Dubai. He has worked on some of the most iconic projects in the world and has developed a trademark style based on his favoured design principles and many years of experience.
Bathrooms are a focal point of Ian’s projects. They are considered and curated, equal parts aesthetics and functionality. We sat down with Ian to talk about his methods, and methodologies. “When it comes to bathrooms, I remember the work of Nicholas Grimshaw catching my eye,” says Ian. “It was a four story Victorian house that was turned into a student accommodation building. Due to the age of the building there were no bathrooms inside, they were in sheds in the back yard. And what he did was quite ingenious - rather than taking away rooms from within the house, he knocked down the additions in the rear yard and built a circular bathroom tower that went the full height of the building.”
This method of housing bathrooms on top of each other became a staple of Ian’s high rise residential designs. “I've done buildings up to 40 storeys in height, and one of the critical things there is stacking bathrooms. So that you have what I've referred to as a bathroom pod, and these are all stacked all the way out the building, so the plumbing is literally a straight line through a vertical riser straight down through the building.” says Ian. “The benefit there is you've got no opportunity for leaks to suddenly spring out over living rooms and bedrooms. It's interesting how often I've had quite serious struggles with developers trying to get them to understand why the bathrooms are all in one location - but the builders always understand.”
One of the key innovations Ian has championed for more than 25 years is the linear slot drain - a drain type that he worked with Australian drainage company Stormtech to create for a project in Redfern. “They had a fantastic drainage system, which was a 25 millimetre wide slot, which they used between paving and a lawn to pick up all the water off the paving, and I thought, ‘what a great idea’,” says Ian. “So I said to them, I want to put a 25 millimetre slot around a shower in the middle of the room and let the water go down. And they said to me, that's a fantastic idea. But you can't do it because you need a 75 wide drain to be able to get your hand into it, you know, to get down the waste. And I said okay, let's do it. 75 millimetres wide with a stainless steel grate, so that we can lift that out to get into it. And so that linear drain from that point on from 1995 onwards has been fundamental to how I designed bathrooms.”
Ian has now specified Stormtech’s linear drainage in countless projects, from high-rise mixed use to aged care facilities “It’s a big part of my bathroom design because the Stormtech drain removes the need for a hob. So you can just either walk in without tripping or you can even wheel your wheelchair into the shower. It also removes the need for a shower screen, making access even easier.”
Ian’s relationship with Stormtech - much like his designs - is based on a foundation of continual innovation, with the architect procuring many custom pieces for his designs. And he is bullish about prospects for the future. “We’re developing the best apartment designs in the world at the moment, I would say. And bathrooms are an important aspect of that. With fittings like the Stormtech drain being innovated here, I can only see that continuing.”
This article is a short summary of the Talking Architecture & Design Podcast episode 71. Listen to the full Podcast Episode here.
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