Tony Allen
Managing Director

“There aren’t many jobs in the world that leave a mark like an architect leaves. Our work is out there for everyone to see every day for 50 years or more. That’s pretty amazing.”

“What really interests me is working for a practice whose projects stimulate people and add value to their environment, as opposed to ordinary, boring buildings that most people don’t even notice. Our buildings add value, debate, controversy, stimulation, some more than others. That’s an important distinction.

I’m an organised, methodical person—everything has to be in its place and of its place. To organise the delivery of a project is interesting to me because the level of responsibility and respect that you must have from the people you’re managing is really valuable. I feel that I’ve got the right personality to garner that respect. I’ve done it for so many years now that it’s second nature.

I learned my skills through experience, although I certainly couldn’t do my job without being an architect. I was managing projects by the time I’d been out of university for four or five years because I was working for a firm that needed some management skills and they noticed that I was good at organising things and making things happen. So they funnelled me into it. I enjoyed it, whereas many others did not.

Later, I managed Federation Square architectural team for Lab+Bates Smart. When that amazing project was complete, I was invited to join ARM.

It’s fantastic to be able to walk through a city and see six or eight seriously major projects that you’ve had a genuine involvement in. It’s like leaving your legacy in huge bold print on the front page and it’s fabulous. When my kids were young it was a real buzz for them too. They loved to say, “My dad did that”.