Leo Carson
Senior Architect

“I’ve always liked making things. My parents say that when I was a kid, everyone else would get toys for Christmas but I got boxes and sticky tape and junk from the tip.”

“I’ve come to ARM after working on the Sydney Metro Northwest rail link since 2015. I led multiple packages of the work, including the main station canopies, and I started during the design stages and continued through to final handover when the first trains ran. On a job that big, you have to take on however much responsibility falls on you. It’s expected.

It was a fantastic opportunity because it prepared me for a project as important as the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall Renewal. I’m leading the delivery stage of ARM’s work at Opera House, which is now in construction.

It’s been great to come to a practice with real architectural culture and cultural projects. ARM’s Sydney office is growing and it’s a gem of a place to work. People are genuine and relaxed and it’s easy to talk to everyone and ask questions.

I’ve always liked making things. I got to grow up in the bush so there was always something to fix around the property. My parents say that when I was a kid, everyone else would get toys for Christmas but I got boxes and sticky tape and junk from the tip. Things that I could take apart, like old televisions. As an adult, I built bikes for five or six years and now I’m repairing coffee machines. I’ve just bought one to fix up for the office. It’s not a full-on commercial one but it’s pretty close.

I’m not a typical-looking architect. I grew up around the academic side of architecture with my dad teaching industrial design at university, but I chose a different direction. Because I’m like that, I’ve often been the intermediary between a contractor and a big architecture firm. Over time, I have developed my own style and skills for negotiating on site, and it helps that sometimes people don’t think of me as an architect.

It also helps that when I was growing up all my mates were farmers. Their families had huge properties with cattle and a lot of them became builders and plumbers, so I worked with them. I’ve been on construction sites since I was about 15.

I hope that people will start to realise the misdirected ways we’ve shaped our built environment over the last 50 or 60 years. We’ve been going down a path of mass production and standardisation, but quality of space defines quality of life, which is more important than the current drivers like money and contracts. Hopefully I can be a part of helping people think on the right track again.”