Peter Bickle
Principal

"We don’t like falling back into any sort of conservatism of our own making. We’re not comfortable with just repeating something we’ve already done before."

“My job is to bring large, ambitious, high-stakes project ideas into reality. That involves working closely with clients and stakeholders and engaging with people to make them feel comfortable that their aspirations will be satisfied through the design process. It’s about presenting them with an honest view of our ideas and architecture, and developing a relationship so we can have an honest discussion of the design. They need to understand how we think and that we have good intentions for their project.

You have to be straightforward with people, and you have to be able to crack a joke. ARM’s office encourages humour—being able to see the funny side of the process as well incorporating humour into the architecture itself.

Research is an important aspect of my work. It makes sense that we inform ourselves about precedents, good and bad, of the buildings we’re designing, so I’ve visited buildings in Australia and gone on study tours overseas to research things like concert halls and theatres. I study the complex requirements of the building types, particularly performing arts venues, libraries and educational buildings. This helps us interpret those building types for the contexts and the culture of the clients we’re designing for.

For me, making buildings is a form research in itself because it involves understanding how architectural scholarship is translated into actual buildings—how ideas become the narrative for a building to relate to the contemporary conditions it exists in. A building has immediate responsibilities to its culture and society, and that’s really important to me.

My interest in scholarship and practice is why I teach architectural design as a sessional academic. I encourage students to pursue ideas about what architecture might be and provide them with the skills to translate and present their ideas into what could really become buildings.

I like to think my contribution has been instrumental in ARM’s work getting incrementally better and better. Having a high level of experience with, say, performance venues doesn’t stop us from pushing the possibilities even further. We don’t like falling back into any sort of conservatism of our own making. We’re not comfortable with just repeating something we’ve already done before. We like to make the outcome more vibrant and exciting than anyone could have anticipated.”