The Australian April 05, 201212:00AM
DARREN Lockyer has always been more than a rugged face and a husky voice, and in his retirement from professional football the former Brisbane Broncos, Queensland Maroons and Kangaroos captain is the champion of a new field.
Lockyer has been appointed an ambassador for Queensland architecture, working with promotional program HEAT, a Queensland government initiative. "I've seen a lot of architecture around the world and as other countries speak different languages so, too, there are different architectural languages. I want to introduce people to the style of architecture we have in Queensland."
Lockyer, who was born in Roma in the state's southwest, reveals how his interest in architecture began when, in the late 1990s, he drove by a house in the Brisbane suburb of Bardon designed by local architect Shane Thompson and thought: "That house is just so fantastic, I love it."
Now 34, married to Loren Pollock and with two children -- Flynn and Sunny -- he is building his first family home and has commissioned young Brisbane-based design firm Owen and Vokes.
"It's at the conceptual stage," he said. "At one of the first meetings with Paul (Owen) I walked out thinking that things would go really well because instead of Paul asking us what sort of house we wanted, or what it should look like, he asked: 'How do you live, can you tell me the way you guys live, and we'll design the space and structure around that feedback.'
"With two kids, and in time more kids coming, it's important that everything is on one level and the kids can go out on to a grassed area. We didn't tell him how many rooms we wanted or that kind of thing, it was that we wanted the children to be able to play, but in the afternoon we wanted to be able to invite friends over and have a glass of wine -- and we wanted to be able to entertain, but not have the kids under our feet.
"The good thing about a house that is architecturally designed is that you never get bored with it. You come home every day and you just really love the space you live in (and) it makes you happy, and life is too short not to be happy.
"If you spend a lot of time at home, particularly when you are raising a family, being in an environment that you are really happy to be in makes you really productive in every other area of your life."