Natalie Lysenko

“ARM projects are fun and they each have a personality. Our work is open to interpretation or it can say something blatantly, and sometimes it’s cheeky or controversial.”

“I was meant to do something creative. As a child I was always making things and I was encouraged to draw from a very young age. I loved doing it because it came naturally.

My dad taught maths, so he had French curves, circle templates and Rotring pens. I was always fascinated by how detailed and precise I could get my drawings when I was allowed to use those quirky instruments. I think I inherited my attention to detail from Dad.

My mother studied sculpture and printmaking, so I grew up in a house that was practically an art gallery with sculptures in every corner and enormous paintings on every wall. Mum took art very seriously and we would spend hours at the NGV and Heide every weekend. We’d stand together and study the art. She taught me to find beauty in the detail.

I think Heide may be where my love of architecture started, and Heide II is still one of my favourite buildings. I spent a lot of time in my childhood discovering the secret rooms and the courtyards.

So creativity was in my family and still is. I’m married to an architect and our three children will probably be architects too, but they don’t know it yet. They’re always sending me images of buildings that they’ve designed in Minecraft, especially ones for Werribee Zoo, which I’m working on. Things like treehouses with fountains for elephants to sit in.

At ARM I’m a project architect and I enjoy the collaborative aspects of delivering projects. I always relish the pre-design phase of any project and it’s exciting to be there on day one. I like talking to people about their project, forming relationships and navigating volumes of information so I can understand and interpret requirements and to capture the big-picture aspirations. I love working with multi-disciplinary teams and helping make decisions.

Recently, I’ve also been developing ARM’s corporate social responsibility and social procurement policies. This is a natural extension of work I’ve also done in establishing ARM’s environmental management system, and meeting the challenges we’ve committed to as part of the Australian Architects Declare campaign.

I’m a Green Star Associate with the Green Building Council of Australia. I’m really interested in sustainable design because buildings are responsible for a significant proportion of the energy we consume, both in their construction and occupation.

Environmental sustainability is something that we consider from the beginning of each project to the end. Sustainable development goes beyond being environmentally responsible to social awareness and responsibility too.

ARM projects are fun and they each have a personality. ARM’s not timid about using colour or being bold. Our work is open to interpretation or it can say something blatantly and sometimes it’s cheeky or controversial. It’s also always highly contextual—of the place.

The projects are unique and so brilliantly conceived. This really is an exciting place to work.”