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Architectus Graduate Program: meet our 2020 grads

Architectus Graduate Program underway

The much-awaited Architectus Graduate Program was launched this March. Six carefully selected architecture and interior design graduates spent two weeks together in our Sydney studio, meeting the leaders of our practice and being introduced to all facets of our business. The two-year program offers deep insight into all aspects of practice, with specific technical and personal development courses, mentoring and support.

After getting off to an interesting start on their return to their respective studios, we asked our grads to share insights into their motivations, inspiration, and their experience within the Architectus 2020 Graduate Program.

Architectus Graduate Program: Natalie Ryan

Natalie Ryan

I studied architecture because… it’s a creative discipline (which actually leads to a job at the end of the degree) and gives us the opportunity to improve human experience.

In my first two weeks in the Architectus Graduate Program… it’s been great to speak to many people in the business whose expertise lies outside interior design and architecture. As grads we are primarily project focussed on our respective disciplines, but I think it’s important to be exposed to what others in the organisation do and understand how it works as a whole.

A building that inspires me is … Dokk1 by Schmidt Hammer Lassen in Aarhus, Denmark. I am thankful to the Dokk1 library for providing me a quiet place to study that my Danish share house of five people could not. I spent a huge amount of time there over a semester and could see the visible impact it had on making art, performance and knowledge accessible to all people of the city. A parent I spoke to told me that he couldn’t remember what he did to entertain his kids every weekend before Dokk1 existed.

Ten years from now… I am excited for the day (I’d hope within ten years) that I see (in real life and for the first time not on a computer screen) a building I have worked on and real people using it.

Architectus Graduate Program: Tany Tan

Tany Tan

I studied architecture because… I love art and was inspired by renovation shows on TV (which I now realise is not the best example of good design). Helping my dad with some building work also made me want to go into the architecture profession.

In my first two weeks in the Architectus Graduate Program… I’ve learned about various aspects of running an architecture studio that you would never learn at university. For example, marketing, accounting, branding and a complex network of systems and standards that I am still trying to get my head around!

A building that inspires me is… the Fondazione Querini Stampalia renovations, Venice, 1961-63 by Carlo Scarpa. The way he highlights the Venetian waters by using them as a type of temporal architectural material inspires visitors to really look and appreciate the tides that are characteristic of Venice. His eye for detail is something I hope to achieve one day.

Ten years from now… I would like to see a more progressive and collaborative built environment – that begins within design teams but is also reflected in the way users and the general public interact with the space. If possible, I would also like to see a progression of projects from design to real buildings!

Architectus Graduate Program: Jonathan Dalbert

Jonathan Dalbert

I studied architecture because… of my love for blueprints. From an early age, although I didn’t know much about them, I found these drawings and their colour weirdly calming. Now, I no longer find architectural drawings weirdly therapeutic, but just therapeutic.

In my first two weeks in the Architectus Graduate Program… I discovered that the amount of thinking and attention to microscopic detail is what sets apart a top-tier architectural practice such as Architectus. As a graduate, it was an amazing experience to be able to learn not only about architecture but also the business operations side of things.

A building that inspires me is… a building that is designed with the human experience as the essential foundation. The Macquarie Incubator is an example of a sensitive design that promotes well-being, spatial experience and sustainability as its design foundations.

Ten years from now… my goal is to be in a position where I can share my knowledge with those in a similar situation to me today, and to still be driven by my passion for learning. I find joy in learning new things, which is why I see myself being in a collaborative environment, exchanging knowledge with people of various experiences and backgrounds.

Architectus Graduate Program: Sean Dervan

Sean Dervan

I studied architecture after… travels through urban Asia inspired me – I loved the dense, activity-rich spaces that were full of life and character.

The Architectus Graduate Program… is helping me to identify my strengths and giving me the confidence to pursue my career goals.

A building that inspires me is… the MahaNakhon in Bangkok by OMA. It’s a really strong contribution to the city’s unique blend of tropical contemporary and historic architecture.

I would be happy if in 10 years from now… I could have contributed to a significant marker on the urban landscape like the MahaNakhon.

Architectus Graduate Program: Stephanie Austin

Stephanie Austin

I studied interior architecture because… from a young age I found myself to have a strong appreciation for architectural forms and interiors, often sketching house plans and modelling them up in generic computer software. I was lucky in the fact this passion only grew over the years and I knew it was the path I wanted to pursue. On a personal level, I am passionate about mental-wellbeing and psychology within space – understanding how design can influence how a person, thinks, feels and lives within the boundaries of a space. I think this has a lot to do with why I went down the path of interiors.

In my first two weeks in the Architectus Graduate Program… I have gained so much understanding and knowledge about Architectus as a brand, business and community. What surprised me the most was how much interest I found in the Business Development aspect – this was something I had limited knowledge of and as graduates we were all extremely grateful to be given an insight into an aspect that is generally unknown territory at our level. I hope in the future, through hard work and opportunity, I can explore this interest more.

A building that inspires me… is always a question I find hard to pinpoint; I’m extremely practical so often it’s very particular things on a small and large scale I notice and think, “ah that was clever”. However, prior to joining the team at Architectus, I found 1 Bligh Street to be very captivating. Following our site visit I have so many questions – it truly is incredible from a macro to micro scale.

Ten years from now… I believe I will be juggling mum life with work life so this will be an interesting question to reflect on. I’m a big believer in the power of learning from those around you, from the most to least experienced, like myself. In the future, I aim to be in a position that allows me to encourage designers of all levels and varying disciplines to confidently communicate their ideas and provide them with guidance, in order to achieve their goals as individuals, designers and for the team they belong to. I have a few short and long-term career goals and the more I learn and grow, the more I evaluate and alter them.

Architectus Graduate Program: Peter Grealy

Peter Grealy

I studied architecture because… it inspired and challenged me to seek out new learning that could contribute to society in a meaningful way. It also provided a career path that fostered continual learning and professional development, which, importantly, satisfies my curious and analytical mind.

My first two weeks in the Architectus Graduate Program… was a fantastic snapshot of the business. I was inspired by the sectors leaders’ passion and enthusiasm for the profession and their commitment to achieving excellence. It was also refreshing to hear that even the best practitioners are still willing to learn and re-invent themselves further into their careers.

A building that inspires me is… the Opera House. It’s poetic form, elegant structure and its tumultuous history embodies the best efforts of many different disciplines. It is an enduring architectural icon that is far greater than its sum of its parts.

Ten years from now… I hope to have worked on and contributed significantly to a net-positive building.


Architectus Graduate Program: Peter Grealy
Mission critical: The rising demand for data centres
Architectus Graduate Program: Peter Grealy
Further growth in landscape offer at Architectus
Architectus Graduate Program: Peter Grealy
Future facing: New directions in façade design