Jesse Judd

“For a project to be really great, every aspect of every process has to line up, and it’s my job to make that happen.”

“At high school, I had very little idea about what architects did. It might sound like a strange thing for a teenager to be thinking about, but I wrote school papers about topics like the future of Melbourne, or a critique of the City Square. I’ve always been intrigued by how cities work and how built form influences our society and culture.

I first joined ARM in 1995 as an undergrad student. At university, we were taught architecture as a building science; it was just not the done thing to discuss ideas. The approach was terribly sensible—I just couldn’t understand it and I found working in an architecture practice far messier and much more interesting.

Successful architecture is the product of an iterative process of research, design, client and stakeholder engagement and, ultimately, the right contracting model. I’m managing each of those steps, looking after the client’s interests and their aspirations, and making sure they get what they need. For a project to be really great, every aspect of the process has to line up, and it’s my job to make that happen.

I enjoy interpreting what the client wants and turning it into a viable project. As a project progresses, we nurture it to develop a character of its own. I like to think our task is a bit like a midwife’s – an intimate relationship until the project is born, and our job is done.

I think clients come to us wanting real innovation. They know we’ll demonstrate throughout the design process that the difficult or the aspirational are not the impossible. Research is fundamental to what we do, so when a new challenge arises we don’t say, ‘What did we do last time?’, we say, ‘What have other architects done well in the past?’ and ‘How can we do it better?’ It’s important that we understand successful and cautionary precedents, both historical and contemporary.

Experience has shown me that if a design solution is the right one it will be obvious. Ultimately, the best solution will seem like the only solution even if there were hundreds to begin with.”