Rob Trinca, affectionately known to his friends as Ern, has died after a long but dignified battle with Dementia. Rob was educated at Geelong Grammar School where he completed his HSC in 1975. The stories he told of his time at boarding school gave some insight into Rob’s personality, his quirky sense of humour and his rascally ways. Rob was drawn to architecture from an early age. He loved model making and building things and became a skilled carpenter and joiner. He graduated from The University of Melbourne in 1981 soon thereafter working at Evans and McKernan, then Carter Meroli.
Aside from starting a career in architecture, Rob was in the music scene, touring Australia and the UK as a roadie with Hunters and Collectors. Rob featured on the cover of their 1982 hit single ‘Talking to a Stranger’ smoking a cigarette while floating in a swimming pool. Rob met his future wife Jane Sandow while they were both studying architecture at The University of Melbourne. They married in 1989 and soon thereafter bought a block of land in Kingsley Street, Elwood where over a one-year period Rob hand built a meticulously crafted cedar house for his young family. Rob was good at sport, tennis, golf, sailing and skiing. He loved the outdoors, particularly mammoth camping trips into remote parts of the country. Rob’s mates recall with much amusement his fetish for hats of all types. It is hard to find photos of Rob without a beloved beanie; it was how you recognised him. Rob was a football tragic, ever hopeful that St.Kilda might one day win a second flag.
Rob joined Peter Elliott Architecture + Urban Design in 1992 and stayed until he retired in August 2012, exactly 20 years later. Rob was a very fine architect with many skills. His special passion was documentation and detailing. He loved being on site during construction as he understood the trades firsthand. Rob was project architect for many Australian Institute of Architects awarded buildings, including:
— Robert Clark Horticultural Centre, Ballarat Botanical Gardens
— Ballarat Town Hall extensions
— Faculty of Art, University of Tasmania
— Observatory Gate, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
— School of Law, Victoria University
— International House, The University of Melbourne
— Urban Spaces Project, RMIT University city campus 1996–2012.
Rob was engaged in all stages of the Urban Spaces Project and several buildings on campus over a 16-year period, working incrementally from masterplan to completed building. He knew the campus better than anyone. The office would regularly get calls from RMIT asking if Rob knew how to find this or that. When RMIT got stuck, Rob would happily toddle up to the campus and sort it out. The results at RMIT are a testament to Rob’s quiet tenacity and capacity to get on with people.
Rob had some funny habits which endeared him to everyone in the office. He would patiently sit with the younger architects teaching them about architecture, always with good humour and a quiet effervescent optimism. Rob was never one for the limelight, always preferring the background. His talents though, complimented mine and others in the practice. The office regularly booked a table for the annual architecture awards. Rob would sneak his own bottle of wine into the event, as he thought the wine the Institute served up was ordinary. When Rob was diagnosed with early-onset Dementia, we decided he could stay as long as he felt he could contribute. This worked for some months but eventually he decided enough was enough, time to retire. Rob and Jane became advocates for the awareness of dementia in younger people. Rob was cared for at home for the entire period of his illness by his devoted family and close circle of friends. Rob is survived by his wife Jane and his daughters Delia and Lalie. Rob was very proud of his family and took great delight in Lalie becoming an architect. We will all miss this most talented genteel man. Vale Rob.