Danny Psaros is the Chief Executive Officer of building development company Psaros.
Can you tell me about where you first met Neil?
I met Neil as a cadet architect when he worked for Philip Cox, Etherington, Coulter and Jones. I was working on a design and construct negotiated contract for a house in Riley Road, in Dalkeith. I worked with Neil on that project and he showed some flair early on in his career. He went on to be a Director at Overman & Zuideveld for 10 years. His dealings with me were not just as a project architect but as a Director, design architect and project architect.
My connection with Neil flourished when he moved to Overman and Zuideveld. Neil was involved in quite a few of our Psaros projects as the Project Architect and we worked together on the design of many complexes during that period. Those projects included Imago 1 comprising 24 apartments and commercial office space in East Perth. It was so successful in design that we decided to do a sister building across the way, called Imago 2 comprising 23 apartments and commercial tenancies. We sold one building off the back of the other and it created a bookend effect in that area, just near the ABC studios.
That project indicated to me that Neil had great potential. You can really see the versatility in his designs. Even in some of the houses that he’s produced, he mixes his materials very well, and that’s a really good sign for an architect. I always like to look at some famous architects like the Frank Lloyd Wrights and Le Corbusier, and how they produce a good product by being so different.
Are there any projects that particularly stand out for you?
The Eric Street apartment building, consisting of four luxury apartments, was designed by Neil and portrayed in a book showcasing 50 of the Best Designed Apartments in the World.
I think Neil certainly put Psaros on the map for that type of luxury product in Cottesloe, which also included a block of three huge apartments on Bindaring Parade. Again, it was a very different design to Eric Street, and it’s a feather in Neil’s cap, because it really shows the versatility that he possesses as an architect.
Do you recommend these apartments to your friends, family, and community?
It’s very difficult to sell something if you don’t believe in it, and I believe in Neil’s designs – I’ve sold apartments to family, friends and acquaintances within the Greek community.
Can you explain to me about working with Neil through the design process?
Neil has a great ability to understand a brief and correlate with what the planning authorities and guidelines require. I think one of the biggest skills that an architect needs to possess in the Perth market is to understand the authorities and what they’re chasing.
If you don’t get it right you can spend a lot of wasted time going through the approval process. You might have to go up before the planning committees three or four times. If someone understands the brief and the feasibility of a project, and then apply their artistic input to make it a pleasing design then that makes it easier.
Neil is adept at listening and then making the buildings look aesthetically pleasing, to work functionally, and have some really good architectural integrity.
The architects have a huge role to play with the planners. We will always go in to bat with planners and traffic managers and waste management, all the things that you actually need to get your approval. It’s a collaborative team effort lead by the architect. You only get one good go at it and you need to listen and listen hard, and get it right because time is money. Neil does get that.
What sort of feedback do you get from the people who live in the apartments Neil has designed?
We have a welcome party for the buyers when we finish a building and we always receive good feedback from the owners. They’re very quick to tell you whether there’s enough storage or what the issues are. Of course, that helps you develop on what you put into your next project. I must report that we’ve got it pretty right so far.
How do you describe Neil to other people who are looking for an architect?
I would describe Neil as a versatile architect who can give you a building that is very different from the last one. I think that’s a very important point.
How do you think Neil is different from other architects?
I think versatility. I love what Neil does with some of these houses that he’s been producing over the last few years. He’s got a really good understanding of nice, linear lines. Sometimes, you can actually see the nautical flavour in some of his housing. It’s exciting because it’s just different.
Would you recommend him and what would be your main reasons for that?
I think Neil’s very easy to work with. He listens. He’s easy to get along with. He’s not confrontational. He doesn’t design buildings for his trophy cabinet. That’s very important for us because we need to have an architect who is actually is cost conscious because our buildings only work for us if they’re profitable. I would definitely have no problems with recommending Neil to other developers or other people wanting to build a house for themselves.
How do you sum up your experience of working with Neil?
I think that Neil grew as an architect very quickly from a cadet, to project architect to starting his own business. I’ve seen him mature as an architect and I think there are even bigger and better things for Neil in the future.