Beth Solomon

“It takes a lot of different personalities to design and deliver a building.”

“Growing up, I was always drawing plans, designing my dream home and endlessly looking at buildings. So architecture was something I was destined to do.

I’ve never worked on small projects. I love big projects because I enjoy working with a team—the team in the office, the client group, the consultants, the project managers, the builders, the big collaboration process. It takes a lot of different personalities to design and deliver a building.

I’ve worked on a number of large-scale projects and seeing the impact a project has, whether it’s on the skyline of Melbourne or a school community, shows that architects are not just drawing lines on a page, we’re contributing to the fabric of society.

From the very beginning of a project, you’re testing and experimenting. At the beginning, you never quite know how it will look, and my role is guiding it through its journey of testing, of trial and error, and of fleshing out the design until it’s complete. It’s a real thrill to go out to site and watch something you and your team designed being built. Seeing the team of builders take on your designs, interpret them and realise them is very rewarding. My role is ensuring that what we’ve designed is what they build.

Being a senior architect and team leader involves managing a variety of staff with varying levels of experience. I value my ability to relate to everyone in my team, and to ensure everybody understands the project and appreciates how important their contribution is. I seem to be able to keep a level head while I make deadlines achievable, coordinate the consultant team and liaise with the client.

I also like to teach. I’m involved in the design studios ARM runs for RMIT Masters of Architecture students. The studios are valuable for students because they get the experience of coming into ARM’s office and discussing their work in a completely different environment from uni. I think it gives a sense of realness to what they’ve been studying. I really enjoy mentoring them though the semester, seeing the crazy ideas they come up with, listening to how they got there, and providing guidance on where to go next.

Part of my job as a project architect is to flesh out designs and to turn them into buildings. Working with the students is doing that with the next crop of young architects.”