Sam Rice

“The work ARM does is writ so large that it’s almost impossible not to have an opinion about it.”

“I started off studying engineering in Adelaide. It wasn’t for me, but I stayed to finish it off. I’m glad I did, because I think there is a part of me well suited to the sense of order and control that they cultivate there. The training in systems and processes—the belief that most things can be described with an equation—came in handy later on.

I came back to ARM in 2018, having worked here 10 years ago as a student. ARM is such a strong presence in the architectural community. Even when I wasn’t here, it was hard to distance myself from the ARM mindset. I was always thinking, ‘What would ARM do with this?’

The work ARM does is writ so large that it’s impossible not to have an opinion about it. The work is fundamentally about ideas, not aesthetics, and every project has its story—a narrative that brings those ideas into a built form. I’ve always loved telling and hearing stories and the good thing about narratives, about ideas, is that you engage with them and you react to them. Or against them.

I think the world is pretty chaotic, and the stories I want to tell of it can be like that too. I discovered scripting—coding to control 3D modelling programs—early on and found it was an excellent way of controlling and permitting a kind of narrative chaos. My thinking is never constrained by what’s at hand…I can make the tools to create what a project needs.

There’s a tendency in architecture to idealise the solitary genius. The best thing about ARM is the collaborative environment here. This place is much more about what the group can do together.”