Architectus acknowledges the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of this nation as the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we live and work.

We pay our respects to Elders, past and present and emerging.

Architectus is committed to honouring Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ unique cultural and spiritual relationships to the land, waters and seas and their rich contribution to society.

This website uses cookies to offer you a great experience and to help us understand how our website is being used. By using this website, you consent to our use of cookies. For full details on how we manage data, read our Privacy Policy.

Accept
Architectus

Architectus Graduate Program: an update from our 2020 cohort

In March 2020, six carefully selected architecture and interior design graduates began a two-year program to gain valuable insight into all aspects of the practice.

No one could have predicted that within a week of their onboarding in our MLC studio our graduates would be, along with the rest of our team nationally, immersed in the world of working remotely for the better part of their first year of the program. With every challenge comes great opportunity and whilst construction site visits were not always possible due to lockdown restrictions, participation in design reviews and client meetings became the norm rather than an exception. The new norm presented our graduates with a different level of insight and more exposure to practice than we could have imagined and paved a new way of thinking for the delivery of the program.

We recently caught up with our 2020 cohort to ask how they were tracking with their experience on projects, working remotely through COVID, and professional development. Here are their reports:

“Adventure, Exciting” Jonathan Dalbert

What is keeping you busy at the moment?
I am currently working on a commercial building in Macquarie Park, NSW. Although the project scale is significantly smaller than the previous projects I have been involved with, the responsibility that is given to me in this project has been a great learning experience.

One thing you learned unexpectedly:
I learned to adapt and take in a lot of things on the fly. Although adequate support was given all throughout the program, a lot of times I was required to take initiative, which has unexpectedly made me better at adapting and being comfortable in scenarios where I might not be fully confident.

Who have you worked with that’s inspired you:
In my short time of working on the Art Gallery of NSW – Sydney Modern Project, I was able to witness Luke Johnson’s expertise in leadership, team management and project delivery. This experience has inspired me to work harder and learn from the best in the industry to one day be able to also inspire younger professionals.

John Jeffrey mentored me closely during my time in the Sydney Modern Project. I learnt so much about construction and architecture in general under the mentorship of John during the 10 months of working with the team.

What are you looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to more challenges and new experiences.

Photo by Jonathan Dalbert, construction site visit.

“All plans cancelled” Natalie Ryan

What is keeping you busy at the moment?
I am busy with work and being from Melbourne, now thankfully also busy with life mostly returning to normal. I am working on several public projects and each is a different building typology, so there is plenty to stay on top of.

One thing you learned unexpectedly?
Something that has become obvious to me while working in the public sector is the degree to which we need to understand how people want to work and operate in their world. Whether they are volunteers or visitors at a Vietnam Veterans Museum or judicial officers or witnesses in a law court, we have to understand specific organisational and personal objectives before we can even begin to do our job as designers, which is to create the physical spaces that can best support these needs.
I think my team was unexpectedly happy when I relocated from Melbourne to the mountains during the prolonged lockdown last winter and we found that, remarkably, my internet speed was somehow faster there than it had been all year while working from home in Melbourne.

Who has inspired you?
I feel lucky to have worked within our tight-knit public sector team led by Sophie Cleland, particularly through the year we experienced in Victoria. As we saw in many other industries affected by COVID lockdowns, our team was able to adapt flexibly (and with good humour) to constantly changing circumstances that, at times, felt very uncertain.

Working with Sophie, I admired her commitment to projects as well as the wellbeing of her team. Not only has she led us through project work, but she has developed other ways for us to stay connected with each other through seemingly trivial things like Spotify music playlists. I found that the idea of traditional organisational hierarchies dissipates quickly when you see your Principal-in-Charge sharing songs like Freedom by George Michael and Lovely Day by Bill Withers at the height of yet another lockdown.

What are you looking forward to?
I have one project starting on site soon, so I am looking forward to gaining construction experience. Continuing to work closely with supportive people from various levels in the sector is something I am looking forward to in working through phases of the building process that are new to me.

Field photo from site visit.

2020 graduate program

“Dynamic, stressful, rewarding” Peter Grealy

What is keeping you busy at the moment?
Project managers! I’ve been predominantly working on East Ipswich Rail Station upgrade (QLD) for the past 15 months, which is nearing Stage 1 completion. I’ve been fortunate to follow this project its inception through to tendering and now construction.

One thing you learned unexpectedly?
The importance of designing for building tolerances and specific construction detail. On my first construction project, I could have avoided time re-modelling and documentation by allowing a little bit more ‘wiggle room’ (for DDA compliance) and a better understanding of construction techniques of various trades.

Who has inspired you?
Allan Rielly for his ability to juggle multiple projects at once whilst remaining calm – a true professional! I’ve also really enjoyed internal project reviews and witnessing everyone’s commitment to great problem-solving solutions and design outcomes.

What are you looking forward to?
New projects and seeing East Ipswich Station reach practical completion! It would also be great to catch up with the other graduates to hear about their recent experiences and a share a few laughs too.

Site images by Peter Grealy, East Ipswich Rail Station Upgrade

2020 graduate program

“Exciting, Challenging, and rewarding” Stephanie Austin

What is keeping you busy at the moment?
I am working on a preliminary design concept for a hospitality refurbishment opportunity within Sydney’s CBD alongside a handful of the Interiors team. The site holds a lot of historical significance and sensitivity to the past and present – this has been reflected through each design choice to date, from the journey of individuals as they arrive and explore the boundaries of the space to the placement of joinery and selection of colours and materials.

I have been lucky to work on one of Sydney’s largest workplace projects full-time since March last year. Due to the project scope and its extent, I have been fortunate to work on an array of tasks within and beyond my level. As a graduate, it is not often you would get to work on a project of such a scale. I have valued my time being resourced on this project, for this reason as I have been exposed to so much and given so many opportunities to learn and grow.

One thing you learned unexpectedly?
Being a CAD user prior to starting at Architectus, I am learning something new within REVIT every time I am using it, it is a great program with so much to offer.

Who has inspired you?
I find myself inspired often by those within and outside my team. There are so many passionate individuals within the business that do what they do so well. Within my immediate team, I really value the time, knowledge, communication skills and patience Xavier Pratt has given with me. He is extremely knowledgeable, technical-minded and very much ‘by the book’. As I set foundations, I really value being taught and learning in the most effective way from the get-go.

What are you looking forward to?
I look forward to broadening my REVIT skillset over the next year and beyond. I really enjoy documentation from the initial planning process to bringing such visions to life, but ultimately I look forward to what the future holds year by year. As 2020 came to an end I reflected on where I was at this time last year, interviewing for my position. You forget in the moment just how much you have navigated, grasped, and thrived. I look forward to all I can learn and the foundations I can set as steppingstones over the next few years.

Group photo of 2020 graduate program cohort in Sydney studio

2020 graduate program

“Challenging but rewarding” Sean Dervan

What is keeping you busy at the moment?
I’m working on a commercial project on the Gold Coast, which I’ve enjoyed as it’s smaller in scale than many of my previous projects. I have had the opportunity to expand my role under the senior project architect and gain experience in project coordination with the consultant team and client. I have been fortunate to be able to work on this project from early concept design through to tender, which was a fantastic experience.

One thing you learned unexpectedly?
The value management process is brutal to architectural ideas that add area to a brief. In the early stages of the design and throughout the architectural process, ideas were put forward that explored some interesting concepts. However, I have learned that through the process of value management (the process of changing the design to bring down the cost of the building to meet budget constraints), those architectural ideas which add area to the brief (and therefore cost) are a challenge to fight for. I’ve learned that we need to be smart about what architectural ideas we bring to a project and ensure that the ideas benefit the users of the building without adding area to the brief. The best architectural ideas will therefore have the resilience to a value management process.

Who has inspired you?  
I have had the opportunity to work with many talented architects like Stephen Pratt at Architectus. I’m inspired by leaders who are driven and focused on their goals. It’s a delicate balance when running a project, there are many different factors that push and pull from many different directions. The most talented project leaders seem to be able to navigate this process and somehow also fight for the highest quality architectural outcome to be achieved.

What are you looking forward to?
More exciting projects in the future and expanding my role on projects as I gain more experience. I am also looking forward to continuing the graduate development program as it has played a valuable role in my professional development.

Concept design collage by Sean Dervan, commercial project in the Gold Coast.

Sean Dervan_Grad program update

“Virtual, change, agile” Tany Tan

What is keeping you busy at the moment?
Jumping in between different projects, stages and topologies. Working with new people and ideas.

One thing you learned unexpectedly:
The design iteration process is complex and political, there are numerous voices that need to be considered and rules that need to be adhered to (or broken). Being able to adapt to different modes of working provides opportunities to collaborate.

Who has inspired you?  
Jennifer Husman’s ability to juggle multiple projects and a family goes to show that a lot can be achieved by one person.

What are you looking forward to?
Seeing some of the projects I’ve worked on become reality (although that may be in quite some time!). I’m also looking forward to meeting up with the other grads again when it’s possible.

Macquarie University Student Accommodation

What is next for our graduates?

In their second year, our graduates will continue to build on their experience by contributing to projects, attendance at specialised in-house workshops designed and led by some of our most inspiring leaders, invest in their formal development including presentation skills as well attend our inaugural Design Charrette next month.

As part of our commitment to nurturing talent in a design-led culture, every year Architectus hand-selects some of Australia’s best design, interiors, and architectural graduates to join the 2-year program. Follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram to hear more about our intake for 2022.