Philippe Naudin
Adelaide Studio Leader

"Our documentation has to be good. Because when you propose a design that’s really out there, you have to work hard to make sure it stacks up architecturally and structurally."

“I was born into a French family restaurant. I started working there on weekends when I was 12, and I moved through the ranks until I’d learned every facet of running the business by the time I finished school. My dad trained me on the job as a chef, but I knew I’d end up in architecture.

A kitchen is an intense working environment and it taught me to work under pressure and deliver an outcome. And how to lead a team. Those things have been invaluable in architecture.

Dad taught me recipes that he’d learned from his grandmother in the tiny village where he grew up in central France. He’s always had a profound respect for the recipe and the craft and the history that was passed down through those recipes to him—the pedigree of the recipe.

There’s a definite parallel with understanding the tradition and context of an architectural project so that when you experiment and innovate it’s in a meaningful way and it carries the weight of the shared memory of the place or the people you’re designing for. It means your innovation is not merely novelty, it has weight to it.

I work at ARM Adelaide. So far, we’re a tiny satellite office but Adelaide is transitioning from being architecturally conservative to wanting to push boundaries more. My ambition is to expand ARM’s presence here to have a serious impact on Adelaide’s design culture so I’m working on business development towards that. I like talking to people—clients, stakeholders—and I can usually anticipate what they are looking for so I can bring relevant information to the conversation.

ARM buildings can look extravagant and flamboyant and expensive, but we have to fit into a budget, so we investigate various ways towards the very best result and to show the client what’s achievable. The nature of our buildings means our documentation has to be good. Because when you propose a design that’s really out there, you have to work hard to make sure it stacks up architecturally and structurally, and that it can be built with current fabrication methods to the budget provided.

Real design isn’t about bells and whistles or dressing a building up, it’s core to a building’s success.”