This week we spoke with talented young architect Sam Caradus from Crosson Architects. We came across Sam from our recent feature in the Denizen Magazine where he included our popular Braided Jute Rug as a source of inspiration. We caught up for a coffee with Sam to learn more about his background, approach to design, architecture and views on selecting materials for his projects.
Sam grew up in Balclutha, a small farming town in the South Island of New Zealand. Sam’s childhood was spent ‘roughing’ it outdoors, climbing trees and playing with friends on the farm. A contrast to the city life where he later found himself, first in Dunedin then in Auckland where he studied at Auckland University after falling in love with Architecture.
Not only did Sam’s childhood consist of days playing on the farm, he was a determined and disciplined swimmer. An aspiring athlete, destined for the Olympics, Sam trained under his coach Duncan Laing, alongside Danyon Loader, already an Olympic champion, former world record holder and remaining national record holder in 400 and 1500-meter freestyle. Training under such influencers was an environment of excellence. When reflecting back on these years Caradus views them as part of his informative Journey, switching paths to architecture Sam found again a familiar environment of excellence. The Spaces Sam wants to create and be in, are spaces that reflect ambition, enriching the lives of those who inhabit them. Sam wants the occupants to feel elevated, to feel the inspiring and transformative power of architecture.
After the whirlwind of studying Architecture, Sam continued to work as a swim coach for other aspiring swimmers for a further five years after graduating. When questioned as to why he took five years break from the architecture he loved, Sam says again was always meant to be part of his journey. ‘It all relates back. When finding the right coach, you need to find someone who’s aspirations align with yours. The same applies when finding an architect to help you build your home, to create a space together, your values need to align. There is a sensitivity around listening and responding carefully in a considered way. That’s what defines great design, crafted responses that really mean something, Timeless, because there true.’ These five years as a swim coach gave Sam that sensitivity in forming relationships, connection, listening and responding, all crucial to the work he does now.
Sam still experienced that yearning and inner voice pulling him back to architecture, he answered this call and went looking for his place in the world of architecture and found a new environment of excellence to excel once again. Ken Crosson, founder of Crosson Architects took a chance on Sam and he has never looked back, still there today. Ken is passionate and Crosson architecture is about aiming for the best, as Sam said you go into architecture, of course wanting to be the ‘greatest architect that ever lived.’ ‘You do it for your clients, for those that will live in what you created. It feels like a huge responsibility, what you are building is going to be around for a really long time. Therefore, it deserves time and consideration, it deserves respect.’
We of course delved into how our natural rugs impact his projects and what mood they evoke for him. ‘The experiential nature of Nodi rugs, highly textured underfoot, elevate you in the moment that you walk across your rug barefoot. That moment of transition from hard cold surfaces such as concrete. The dramatically different feeling underfoot when you step onto your Nodi rug, transports you, your senses are heightened, you are feeling the moment, perceiving your space in a different kind of way, the feeling underfoot opens your mind. It isn’t a mundane transition that goes unnoticed.’
Caradus’s hope for the architecture he creates is ‘timelessness’. The hope that you won’t know when it was crafted. ‘You can inhabit that space in 20 years’ time and for it still to feel valued, still important. It’s why every decision deserves a considered response. What’s cool right now is so easy for a response, but there isn’t a longevity to those responses.’ Inspired by a recent trip where he visited the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, Sam recalls the experience to be ‘mind blowing’, what was built at the turn of the twentieth century, the consideration and thought which makes this architecture still relevant to this day.
During our coffee, we also explored a handful of his projects. In particular we delighted at a recent project, the ‘Kawau Island Batch’. This project having just won an Auckland Architecture Award. What stood out was the thought that had gone into its materiality, what would be a simple staircase has been crafted and designed to offer texture, delicacy, an experience. What appears as a simple utilitarian shed has had a huge amount of consideration, a reflection on all that Sam has spoken about. The Batch is designed in a way that the inhabitants can open up or close off spaces. The ability to play and transform the spaces to how they want to live. We admired Sam’s response to materiality. ‘I gravitate towards honest, durable, robust materials, imbued with meaning.’
Kawau Island House by Crosson Architects - NZIA Local Award 2018 / Auckland. Photos taken by David Straight
We feel honored to have connected with such a considered and thoughtful designer, and to be included in his material selections in the latest Denizen Magazine. We couldn’t agree more with his thoughts on our popular Braided Jute Rug ‘because it is true, it is real, it is perfect in its imperfectness. There is a defined order to the weave yet it is chaotic and random all at the same time. Following the weave with your eye you can watch as the braids take on a life of their own. Although staying tightly woven the texture opens up and closes back down, it becomes a unique landscape.’
Thank you for your time Sam. We loved learning more about you and the intimate details that go into the creation of your work. Explore more about Crosson Architects here.