“When I’m designing, I’m often either trying to fashion the silver bullet or cut the Gordian knot.”
“I’m one of the team growing ARM’s presence in Sydney. We’ve opened a studio here because Sydney is beautiful and socially diverse, and we want to contribute to the local culture. Our work is ideas based, so everything we design is a one off because every client and every community is unique. And Sydney is too interesting a city to offer it anything less.
ARM’s work is and has always been challenging. When I was in my first year at architecture school, I thought Storey Hall at RMIT was a terrible building but by the time I was finishing my Master of Architecture at RMIT (with Howard Raggatt), I thought it magical and masterful.
My naivete had been in judging a building without any sense of the space of it or its street context, or the culture in which the building was procured and made. I think architecture can be a bit like that—understanding it can be hard work.
I see the buildings that we design as part of a bigger fabric that we call cities or towns rather than having a myopic focus on just the site or building that I’m working on. This is one of the reasons I’m interested in urban design and planning, including matters of public policy, the way we shape cities and how and why we regulate those things. I think you need good architects thinking at this scale and working together to deliver a city of cultural depth and refinement, as ARM always has.
As well as architectural practice, I’ve worked for the Australian Institute of Architects. I have also lived and worked in Melbourne, Sydney and Darwin. This has given me an understanding of business, negotiating divergent views and the art of genuine and useful compromise, managing commercial relationships (including from the client side), understanding sensitivities of time and cost, and providing client-focused outcomes in a range of contexts.
I’m good at unpacking complex problems and taking disparate elements and trying to distil them into an elegant solution. Often when I’m designing, I’m either trying to fashion the silver bullet or cut the Gordian knot.
It’s a bit like searching for truth: there are plenty of alternatives, but once you find it, the narrative unfolds, ideas start to sing in harmony, the design comes together, and the new world is revealed as both intelligible and wonderful.”