From the age of 12 Rex wanted to be involved in home design, a desire born from endless hours playing in a sand pit of all places. His focus from those early days was to create home designs that became one with their surroundings and so has had a preference in using local resources which generally provides excellent sustainability while his designs provided light and comfort in creative design.
His school years gave brought him understanding in woodworking and technical drawing but drawing nuts and bolts did not fascinate him as much as the floor plans and elevations of homes and coloured perspectives. In his high school year he won the top prize in woodworking for a coffee table he made which also gave him confidence to succeed as he was interviewed on national television at the ripe age of 15 for the project.
His training continued at an Auckland Polytechnic where he enrolled in a 5 year part time course in New Zealand Certificate in Architectural Draughting NZCD (arch) He chose to complete 3 years in the first year while he worked with a builder to gain practical experience and he would then be able to complete the last two years in his second year. His philosophy was that you cannot create excellent home design if you don’t understand the methods of construction or the tools used to create so he chose a Speculative builder who was experimenting with different materials and design ideals, split level homes who also had a dedication to quality homes.
In his second year he was advised half way through the year that the only subject he failed the year before was a prerequisite for a subject he was studying this year and so he would not be permitted to sit that one subject at the end of the year although they happily took his entry fee. Any marks achieved were not even permitted to be carried over and so with that he lost desire to even complete the whole course in the time allotted as he would have to go a third year doing just one subject. It was a huge let down and all his hopes seemed lost.
His intention was to attend university and take a degree in Architecture but those hopes were dashed. His only option was to travel to Perth WA where he could do a degree but he fell in love with a woman and was quickly married.
His full time employment began with a firm of architects JASMaD who were leaders in the country for design and project management and was mostly commercial and educational completing a lot of work for the University of Auckland. He started off in information draughting preparing brochures for companies and learning to draw meticulous details with accuracy and clarity that are presented in his drawings today.
He then moved into the Architectural Draughting side of JASMaD undertaking commercial work but his passion was for housing and somehow he was not finding the niche he longed for so it was time to move into the Housing Corporation where they focused purely on house construction. He quickly learned the detailing of standard home design and contracts documents before moving into his final place of employment a firm of Architects Graham and Keys close to where he was now living. The work here was varied and interesting but the economy was changing and the quality of work was reduced to standard homes and so it was out into the big wide world on his own.
In the late 70’s he began his own home design and build business completing work for wealthy clients having employed a foreman or construction manager who was exceptional at his work. The team was set to go places and the quality of work was second to none as one project after another was completed in the 10 year life of the business which was only brought to a close with the crash of the share market.
The next decade was spent designing even standard homes until his breakthrough came in the Coromandel Peninsula. He met with some very wealthy clients who had shown interest in his creativity but not enough to give him total exclusivity of the project. Others Architects and designers were asked to compete in the same house designs without his knowing and in both projects he won the opportunity to complete the design and watch his creation unfold at the hands and with the skill of gifted local builders .
He has always maintained that a good designer is nothing on his own, if it can’t be built and you hear plenty of builders complaining about architects and their drawings how they cannot be built as they are impractical or their drawings were unreadable. That wasn’t the case with Rex I.Randell as time and time again builders would express surprise at the quality of drawings, the clarity, the neatness and accuracy. One builder had said once he saw the ridge height noted on the drawing and didn’t think it was correct and so went about setting up the house in the way he thought he should only to find he had to add more to the frames to get the required pitch for the roof and then he dropped a tape down from the ridge and was surprised it was exactly as the dimension showed on the drawing to within 1mm. That is a great builder . It is amazing what trigonometry can do.
His work was valued to the extent that one home design was bought and sold so the owners could purchase another home design by him. His reputation was fast growing in this small community and he was welcoming the attention and the work. He had indulged in some shop fitting design and layout and learned some simple philosophies in design that he would transform his understanding in home design and he would later use it in his home design, it also tied in perfectly with Feng Shui ideas, the 8 mansions principles and using the Ba Gua then became second nature to him and his work.
His first home design was then completed overseas in Perth on a site overlooking a man made lake. The clients were delighted with the home design and more so that they had doubled their money on the build in twelve months because of the excellence in the plan. The new owners vowing to never sell but keep the house in trust for their offspring to use in future. He was then offered a position as designer with a Perth construction company who built that house and with some enticement over a ten year period moved to the warmth that is Perth. The company then changed tac to focus on standard home design and so once again it was time to move on. How can you ask Mozart to write a gingle for an advert?
Now he has taken to home design and build uniting with a builder of excellence in Perth and teams of tradesmen who execute the build with good timing and excellence in workmanship. He is dedicated to providing the very best experience and seeking alternative ways of construction, good sustainable materials, using the suns energy to warm a house by day and store it at night and provide excellence in ventilation so as to reduce air conditioning costs to the owners cooling the house when required. The method of build is very different to the standard provided by group builders or project builders in that he wants to show all the pitfalls in construction, show the detail for pricing and make available to the clients all savings on the project.
Really at the end of the day everyone wants to make money, either by saving, by spending in such a way as to increase their investment or developing passive income. Even in rental homes a happy renter is a long term renter, it costs nothing to the owner to design a home properly to provide security for their tenants and good passive solar home design so their livings costs are minimised so his consideration in home design is beneficial to everyone including the Landlord and the Tenant. He has even reduced his fees to a mere 14% across the board from start to finish where just to employ a Site Manager would cost 18% and no design, no drawings and certainly no understanding of Passive Solar design and its principles.
If you did call him there is ever chance you would be loosing money, if not in the build in the future with utility costs. Imagine living in a home where your power bill was halved and that was without solar panels converting to power. That is what Architecture at its Best offers.