“My mother was a professional violinist and my father was a philosopher, so I spent a lot of time in interesting concert venues and university buildings as a child.”
VANESSA DUDMAN ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR REGISTERED ARCHITECT (AUS) (NSW) vanessad@ignitearchitects.com

My love of architecture stemmed from my parents.

My mother was a professional violinist and my father was a philosopher, so I spent a lot of time in interesting concert venues and university buildings as a child. My father also used to take me to see my uncle, who was an organist, play in various churches and cathedrals. I developed a love of those beautiful historic and contemporary buildings by seeing how they worked behind the scenes, which developed into a vocation in architecture.  

I am really interested in place making. I get a thrill out of creating and constructing buildings which become much more to the community than just bricks and mortar. This is especially true of projects where one building has been a catalyst for urban renewal, or where a collection of buildings has changed a neighbourhood. I really love seeing a development completed and visiting it later to see how it has been embraced by the community.

My primary edict is that form should always follow function. If your building doesn’t address its functional requirements, it will not service its users as intended and it is not an appropriate response to the client brief. 

I believe that to create successful design, you must listen to your client with both ears open and fully understand what is driving the project. Don’t jump ahead and assume. You need to understand all of the issues at play to bring the most innovative ideas to the project.

It’s really important to bring your client on the design journey. They are integral to the decision-making process, which ultimately informs the outcome of the project. Giving your client clear, well-thought out ideas results in clear direction and instruction.  

I also believe architecture is a team pursuit. That means it is critical to create a team environment right from the beginning. It’s also important to bring the best team to the table – you’re only as good as the advice you are given, so having really good consultants is critical to creating really good architecture.