The city of Melbourne has a wealth of beautiful architecture, some of which has become an icon of the area. From the grandiose spires of the Old Flinders Street Station to the modern forms of the CBD skyline, there is something for everyone from the curious observer to the architecturally-inclined in Melbourne. AM Architecture Melbourne is one of the many architectural practices that can help bring these iconic Melbourne buildings to life, offering their unique design style and expertise to create beautiful structures that are in harmony with the city.
The founders of AM Architecture Melbourne, architects Michael Swahn and Sally Schofield, have been in the field since the mid-1990s, after studying at the prestigious Melbourne University. The pair have since gone on to gain national and international recognition through their creative designs. Their experience and award-winning talent have seen them gain many prestigious awards such as the Victorian Architecture Award and the Pritzker Prize.
AM architecture offers a wide range of services, from residential and commercial projects to a range of specialist services and master-planning. Their design concept starts with the question of ‘how can the building not only match the existing cityscape, but also enhance it’ – a key question for any successful urban design.
Their projects often involve unique design features and use materials in unconventional ways. For example, AM Architecture recently completed a renovation for an old converted factory warehouse in North Melbourne, which includes an atrium and an outdoor courtyard made with recycled shipping containers.
Perhaps one of the most impressive projects from AM Architecture is the National Library of Australia in Canberra. This stunning building forms the centrepiece of the city’s public library system and is the result of an extensive master-planning and design exercise. The building is exquisitely crafted and features specially commissioned art by local artists, integrating the building into the history and culture of Canberra.
Although AM architecture is primarily based in Melbourne, they have completed projects as far afield as London and New York. In addition, they are currently working on a high-rise development in the heart of Melbourne’s Docklands, which is set to become one of the city’s iconic skyscrapers.
The Design Process
At the heart of AM architecture’s approach to design is a focus on sustainability. From materials to energy efficiency and water harvesting, the company has an innovative approach to helping their clients to build greener architectures with a uniquely green and environment-friendly design. All their projects must adhere to the commitments set out in their philosophies and design processes, ensuring that their projects are up to date with the latest technology and standards.
The team also encourages their clients to focus on green aspects of the design, such as minimising energy consumption while maximising comfort. They also take a forward-thinking approach to each project and explore the possibility of unconventional solutions, such as green roofs and natural ventilation. These innovative solutions, combined with their expert knowledge and dedication to sustainability, often result in unique and practical designs.
Another key factor for AM architecture is collaboration with other stakeholders, such as local councils and other architects. By collaborating, the team can more effectively develop the potential of the area and ensure that projects are tailored to the needs of the people in the area, as well as the environment.
The team also place a high emphasis on communication. They regularly engage in open dialogue with clients and other project stakeholders in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Furthermore, they are committed to providing clients with detailed feedback from the beginning of the project until its completion, which is an essential part of any successful project.
The Role of Technology
In today’s increasingly digital world, technology has become an integral part of the architecture field. The Melbourne-based studio is no exception; AM architecture has embraced new technologies, such as 3D printing, to help them create accurate representations of their designs. This helps to ensure that the building can be built to their exact specifications, avoiding costly revisions and additional construction costs.
The team also incorporates innovative design elements into their projects, such as interactive displays and automated windows, to create a multi-sensory experience for visitors. This helps to make their projects come alive and enhance the visitor experience. Furthermore, the studio has experimented with virtual reality and augmented reality to help clients visualise their designs before construction begins. This helps to further reduce the risk of costly mistakes, as well as to give the client a better sense of ownership of the project.
The Culture of AM Architecture Melbourne
The team at AM Architecture Melbourne are committed to creating a unique culture within their studio. They believe that a good working environment makes a positive contribution to the work they do and believe that their team’s collective attitude and positive energy reflects in the quality of their designs.
As such, they take great pride in their ongoing commitment to staff training and development, with their staff regularly attending seminars, workshops and other activities to continue their professional development. The team also believes in the seven key values of collaboration, creativity, community, respect, integrity, diversity and sustainability, aiming to uphold these core values in all their work.
On a social level, the team believes in fostering a strong team spirit and actively organises several extracurricular activities for the team throughout the year. From movie nights to kayaking and skiing, the team at AM architecture create opportunities to form strong bonds outside of the workplace and build a strong team culture.
At AM architecture Melbourne, the team recognises the importance of collaboration and open communication. The team encourages open discussion among their staff and from other industry professionals, believing that this fosters a constantly evolving and creative culture.
The team often visits trade shows, seminars and other events to stay up to date on the latest trends and ideas in the architecture field. They also invite industry professionals to their studio to share their knowledge and experience, or to brainstorm ideas on selected projects. These visits provide fresh perspectives and help the team to constantly develop their design skills and philosophies.
The team also makes a conscious effort to visit and tour some of the world’s most iconic architectural sites in order to get a better understanding of the craft and to help them develop their own design ideas. By seeing these masterpieces up close, they are able to incorporate lessons into their own designs and help to create better, more iconic Melbourne buildings.
Giving Back to the Community
AM architecture is also strongly committed to giving back to their local community. The studio has been involved in many charitable projects, primarily involving redesigning or renovating buildings or spaces to provide a better environment for disadvantaged children and members of the community.
They have worked to provide libraries and other reading spaces, as well as a courtyard playground, to help those in the neighbourhood feel safe and comfortable. The team also volunteered their time to create a mural for a local youth centre to add a bit of colour to the area and help promote the community’s wellbeing.
By engaging in such activities, AM architecture not only brings their unique design skills to the local community, but also helps to make a difference in the lives of their neighbours.
From humble beginnings in the mid-90s, AM architecture Melbourne has gone on to become one of the most respected architecture studios in the country. Their commitment to innovation and sustainability, combined with their dedication to giving back to the community, has seen them win numerous awards and undertake some of the country’s most exciting projects.