5 minutes with ARM technical director Wayne Sanderson

Tell us about your home.

It’s ironically referred to as “the shack on a swamp”. Most people who know the house have a bit of a chuckle at that description. It’s on quite a steep block, around 30 degrees, and it was a challenge to build. The house is clad in an aluminium composite material, which is a product that I am particularly interested in. The 50-plus steps inside certainly help keep me fit.

What particularly interests you as an architect?

I’ve spent most of my career involved with façade design because it’s the skins of buildings that interest me most. I’ve worked with some very bright people on great projects that continually challenged what’s possible geometrically and technically for a building façade.

What type of projects do you usually work on?

Large-scale civic and commercial buildings are my preference. My last completed project was the Victorian Desalination Plant. Significant buildings tend to polarise people, and I’ve been fortunate enough to work on a number of buildings that have done just that. Hopefully they’re more widely admired than deplored.

Tell us about working on the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre.

I live in Geelong, so it’s great to be involved in one of the city’s most important cultural projects. It’s a very notable building and it’s certainly prominent in the skyline of central Geelong. Technically, it’s a difficult building, with a complex tiled surface and glazed façades. I think it signifies a change in architectural ideology for Geelong—maybe it’s even a transitional piece. The clients were ambitious in selecting this design and they’ve continued to be great advocates for the vision of the new library. It would be fantastic to see the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre play a part in promoting Geelong’s future as a positive and progressive city.

What’s your architectural pet hate?

Buildings that don’t polarise people. “It’s OK” is certainly not the critique you want to hear about your projects. The best architectural results require a committed team who want to do the best they can. In my experience when there is a genuine commitment from everyone involved to deliver the best that they can, the outcome is usually something outstanding. And with civic buildings, the results are on show for everyone to see.

Photo by Justin Fagnani