Paul Owen, Architect, Owen and Vokes and Peters

Often if the weekend feels wasted, it’s because it was spent without good friends ...

One half of the creative duo behind South Brisbane-based architecture practice Owen and Vokes, Paul Owen has envisioned and crafted an array of unique additions to the Brisbane landscape. Avid cyclist, sharp-suited savant and dabbler in Instagram, Paul seeks appropriateness rather than novelty with each of his works. The Weekend Edition chatted to him about what inspires his weekend …

How do you like to start your weekend?
I would go to a club race with the UQ Cycling Club or do a long ride – before the weekend starts I’ve been on an adventure.  I haven’t had the chance to do that for a while, but I did it almost every Saturday morning for so long that it still feels like it’s what I do at the start of each weekend.

What’s your favourite thing to do on a Saturday morning?
As much as I love going for a bike race or a long ride, the truth is that my favourite thing is to sleep in with the kids, who come onto the bed and selfishly insist I give them nice tickles and scratches while they doze. I try telling them how tired I am, but they don’t care! Then I like making them something gorgeous to eat …

How do you like to unwind?
I really like going camping – where everything revolves around swimming, sleeping and cooking.

What are your essentials for a well-spent weekend?
I guess it’s a cliche, but catching up with friends is essential – often if the weekend feels wasted, it’s because it was spent without good friends.

What’s something you’ve been meaning to do on the weekend but haven’t got around to yet?
I’ve been meaning to go away to visit friends, so this weekend I’m visiting a dear friend in Hobart. She’s also an architect – and is such great company.

What’s your favourite thing to do on a Sunday evening?
Lately I’ve been going Canvas in Woolloongabba to see my cousin Leah Rush sing with Cheyenne Kavanagh and Michael Manikus on keyboards. It’s perfect – friends, drinking, and beautiful music.

What are you looking forward to next weekend?
I haven’t been on a long ride for a while, so I think I’ll try my old routine of an early adventure, take a long ride, or race …  have coffee and talk about how amazing we all rode … then friends, drinks, dinner. An open, and open-ended, weekend

Only a local would know … of all the small-scale, independent and fantastic coffee shops, restaurants and bars are popping up in and around the city.  It started years ago with places like Jamie’s, Espresso Garage and Sardine Tin – now it seems there are many more great little places with high-quality coffee, food, etc.

What are you reading at the moment?
Well, I seem to be reading my iphone an awful lot – apart from that I’ve been trying to finish The Craftsman by Richard Sennett. Before that, it was Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast and Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler.

Who inspires you?
I guess my children inspire me more than anyone – I can’t believe how much joy they give out.

What inspires you?
The possibilities of the future – also seeing the buildings of our practice come to completion. It still amazes and inspires me …

What was your childhood dream?
I actually dreamed of being a professional tennis player!

What has been your greatest achievement?
Together with their mother: three amazing daughters.

What is success to you?
Happiness – of course!

What are your words of wisdom?
Ha – I’ll have to get a quote from song lyrics or a movie or something … Isn’t it understood that, with wisdom, comes things such as happiness, contentment, kindness and true love? It did occur to me recently that people seek all kinds of virtues whilst forgetting to seek wisdom itself.

Perk up … Bikram Yoga at Woolloongabba.
Relax … Bikram Yoga at Woolloongabba – again –  and tennis at UQ on a Saturday afternoon (doubles).
Dine … Piaf at South Bank and Crosstown Eating House at Woolloongabba.
Indulge … Pear Cafe, Highgate Hill.
Shop … The Cloakroom, Brisbane City.
Catch-up … Sardine Tin at South Bank or Super Whatnot in Burnett Lane.
Be inspired … in a pub with friends – have to wait a couple of hours for inspiration.


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