Mark Raggatt
Director

“Answering a brief doesn’t get you to architecture and nor does designing something astonishing in isolation. Making them dance together—that’s where architecture is.”

“There has never been any question in my mind that architecture is about ideas—that the properties of buildings are a vehicle for staging and communicating human culture.

The best bit for me is that moment when the design is emerging in front of us and we can just start to see its potential. That’s very exciting but it also fills you with dread because you can see what’s coming next: the task of turning it into something tangible and testing it against the world. That said, architectural design is not just problem solving. Answering a brief doesn’t get you to architecture and nor does designing something astonishing in isolation. Making them dance together—that’s where the architecture is.

I’m interested in architectural publishing; I see words as a way into architecture. When I was an undergraduate, I started a magazine called Subaud. It was an underground rag but people picked it up all over Australia. It was something strange and new and it helped me develop my own thinking about architecture. More recently, I co-edited and contributed to our book, Mongrel Rapture: the Architecture of Ashton Raggatt McDougall. I still write for architecture and design publications and I usually have some article I’m tinkering with. I do quite a bit of work in our education and public programming including curating and designing exhibitions, running research programs and design studios with RMIT.

I’ve always worked with computers. Using them to design buildings is a way of thinking and working, not just a new way of repeating what the Old Masters did. It brings mechanisms and expressions that have their own qualities. I do a bit of everything but I work intensively on concept and sketch-design phases. Everyone in our office is dedicated to design quality and intent, my role in that is to be there at the beginning and make sure the core intent of a design idea is sustained through all stages of the project.”